Our law firm was not involved in the lawsuit described in this article.
Yesterday the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the tenant on an appeal from an eviction case and held that service of the notice to pay rent or vacate was improper.
The landlord served only one copy of the notice to two tenants. Even though the tenants were a married couple and even though the husband handed the notice to the wife in the presence of the landlord the service of the notice was held invalid.
It is important to note that it was undisputed that both tenants actually received the notice. Nevertheless because the manner of service did not strictly comply with the statute the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and awarded attorney’s fees.
The landlord lost the case and will face paying both sides’ attorney fees for both the trial court and the appeal. This will easily run into thousands of dollars.
The time and manner of service for eviction notices is strictly construed against the landlord. Service is not synonymous with actual receipt. A landlord is well advised to either retain an attorney or contact an attorney before serving notices.