In the fast paced world of email communication it is always tempting to consider serving statutory notices by email. Service of statutory notices by email is, however, in the property sector, still a very risky business. Certain statutes have particular service provisions that may not permit service by email or fax. For example, Section 99 of the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 requires notices to be given “in writing”. There has previously been some debate as to whether a notice sent by email or fax is given "in writing" and therefore properly served.

In the recent case of Cowthorpe Road 1-1A Freehold Limited v. Wahedally, the court decided that service of a counter-notice by email and fax was not valid. Notices by email or fax did not satisfy the test of “in writing” and were not treated as hard copy, original (as opposed to copy) documents, which is what the court said is required by the 1993 Act.

In light of this recent case, it is clear that it is always better to serve a hard copy notice in accordance with the terms of statute or, safer still, to obtain the advice of a specialist property litigator.