In a landmark decision by the Court of Appeal in O G Thomas Amaethyddiath v Turner & Ors [2022] a notice to quit served at the correct address but addressed to the wrong entity was found to be invalid.

Facts of the Case

The tenant (Mr Thomas) held an oral tenancy of an agricultural holding governed by the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986. The tenancy was assigned by Mr Thomas to a company of which Mr Thomas was the sole director and shareholder.

The tenant did not tell the landlord about the assignment and the landlord was unaware of the existence of the company.
The landlord served a notice to quit. The notice and the covering letter were addressed to Mr Thomas (not the company). The notice was personally served on Mr Thomas at his home address which was also the registered office address of the company. No counter-notice was served and the key issue was whether the notice to quit was valid, having been addressed to Mr Thomas rather than the company.
The Court of Appeal overturned the previous decision and held that a notice to quit addressed to the incorrect recipient cannot be saved by the principles set out in The Mannai Investment Co v Eagle Star Life Assurance [1997] case.
The fact that Mr Thomas was the sole shareholder of the company and both Mr Thomas and the company were at the same address did not give sufficient grounds to validate the notice.
This is an important decision for landlords and tenants when serving a notice to quit. A notice served on the wrong recipient is bound to be invalid, even if the party serving reasonably believed that he was serving the correct party.