Periodic Tenancies: Notice-to-Quit

If a tenant wishes to end a tenancy contract, he or she has to give the landlord a written notice to that effect. The written notice needs to be duly signed by the tenant and the address of the premises has to be clearly mentioned. The notice should also include the date on which the tenancy contract/period ends.

That’s not all; the tenant has to make sure that the notice is handed over to the landlord personally. In case that is not possible due to any reason, the tenant may send the notice by registered post with acknowledgement due. If either of these is not possible, the notice can be sent via email or by fax. If the notice is sent by fax, make sure you get a copy of the notice printed and save it for future reference.

Whatever the fixed term agreed upon has to be honoured by both the landlord and the tenant. Although neither party has the right to end the term, under section 21, the landlord has a right to serve a 2-month notice period asking the tenant to vacate the premises. Please note this will be a “Notice Requiring Possession” and not a “Notice to Quit” being issued on the tenant. However, the landlord needs to make sure he or she has a court order for possession before the eviction proceedings can take place.

If the fixed term takes its course naturally and the tenant refuses to budge at the end of the term, both parties need to agree to what is known as a Contractual Period Tenancy (CPT) and let the tenancy turn into a Statutory Period Tenancy (SPT) automatically. One advantage with SPT is that it is almost the same as the original term contract, though the 2-month notice period will not apply here. Similarly, the notice period for the SPT will depend on the nature of the new contract: if it is a monthly rent contract the tenancy will be a monthly period tenancy; for a 3-month period it will automatically become a 3-month periodic tenancy.

In case the landlord wishes to serve a notice to quit to a tenant who is on an SPT, he or she has to give a minimum notice of 2 months according to section 21. If the same is for a 3-month period, the notice will be for 3 months. However, the 1988 Housing Act is not very clear about the tenant’s notice for an SPT, though it is covered under Common Law (notice to quit) for protection from the Eviction Act of 1977.