Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Carryon Regardless

T's Notice in a Fixed Period

Recommended Posts

For a long while I've been of the understanding that a T can leave before midnight on their last day of a fixed term with no notice to the LL being required.

However I'm finding some interesting contradictions to my understandings generall y when I read Shelters guidance following google searches. Their own site does say a T can just go, unless the AST says otherwise and requires notice. Of course that's preferable for us, and if valid it's worth us having such a clause in the AST.

Bottom of page

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/private_renting/ending_a_tenancy/ending_a_fixed_term_agreement

I have also read within Shelter's site that we can stipulate longer notice periods in the periodic tenancy. We might choose, for example, to require notice form a T to falls in line with that required by us - the 2 months.

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/private_renting/ending_a_tenancy/ending_a_periodic_agreement

We all know that legislation over rules anything we may wish to put in our AST's and I believed it did in these cases but reading the legislation can leave my brain in twisted knots, and it would seem it does for those more capable hence our courts being so busy trying to unravel the confusions.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have heard of these arguments before but I think the telling point is that on Shelters website they bandy about the words "usually" and "normally" a lot which to me implies its a grey area. It could refer/relate to some old ruling (or maybe a commercial let) 50 or 100 years ago  before AST's  and housing acts of recent years and could/may be argued as still valid.

I  am fairly sure the people who we get our legal advice and documentation from would have jumped all over this otherwise to get that extra edge in the landlords favour.

Until it gets ruled on at the high court or added into statute I wouldn't like to rely on it. 

Or I am completely wrong and have being doing it all incorrectly for years

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the current default process works perfectly ok and doesn't require any changes.

I always assume a tenant WILL leave at the end of the fixed term so ALWAYS make a point of talking to the tenant 4-6 weeks before the end of the fixed term to determine their plans......go or stay ? and if they want to stay wether it's a periodic or new ast. Simples.

If a tenant serves notice during a periodic tenancy I really couldn't care less if they give me 2 weeks or 2 months notice. If a tenant has made up their mind to go there is little point in insisting they stay....that is likely to result in headache and heartache. Let them go, charge them for what you are entitled to charge and move on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been up against Shelter a couple or more times. In the CC the judge definitely gave bias to the defendant and even entered into some personal type dialogue with the Shelter rep after the ruling. That's not relevant to law but demonstrated a lack of respect for the injured party, me.

I expect to be in court with Shelter acting on belhalf of some one again some time. I would have thought quoting Shelters own website statements, even if possibly vague, would have some value.

Now more important is the validity of insisting on recieving notice of departure at the end of a fixed period, I've found it difficult on occasions to get inside  a T's head. They wish to go, well we can't stop 'em. Then what we can charge is the question I raised.

My present situation.

A T of 2 months served notice of 4 weeks, I wrote to say you are free to leave but are responsible for the fixed period. She had taken up with new chap and it seemed would like to live there instead but rather than say so attempted to involve the Housing Enforcement Officer regarding what she stated as dangerous electrics. The officer had no interest to persue.

6 weeks later she served notice again, this time citing health reasons.

Today was the last day of her fixed period and I was expecting her to go. Yesterday she texted from an unknown number saying she had left and what to do with the keys. It does get a little tiresome not only changing T's nappies but having to continually educate a 40 odd year old lass is ott. After a few more texts to and fro with I not accepting such as reasonable communication of surrender she rang, "keys in my possession indicate return of possession, preferably with a signed and witnessed surrender document" (I provide a form for such). I not being able to accomodate a handover till Thurs means she is then into a SPT. Too dumb to realise it makes no difference she will now post recorded.

I recieve this say 2nd March it effectively is her notice in a SPT. Notice is minimum 1 month ending at the end of a rent period, that becomes 30th April. She now owes 2 months extra rent for not informing me of her intent and arranging a hand over, or similar surrender. Should I?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to take the view that if they want to go, let them. I'm usually quite forgiving in terms of what I charge them for leaving early.

Most of my properties are leasehold and require permission to let along with agents fees etc the cost of which I  amortize over 6 or 12 months depending on the length of the ast. So I usually calculate a charge if they leave early based on the fees I've paid to set up the tenancy.

In your case (and I assume it's a freehold property) I'd probably settle for a couple of weeks rent in lieu of notice agreed as a deduction from the deposit but make sure they understand it's a reduced amount to close the matter quickly.

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have in my contracts details of an £180 charge if the tenant unlawfully end the agreement and for the avoidance of doubt the tenants and guarantor's obligations continue until the tenancy is legally ended. Never had to charge it but it may have been a deterrent.

Also if a tenant requests to be released early there is a admin charge of £70 or 10% of the remaining rent IF AGREED (which ever is greater). This comes with a number of conditions such as only if a suitable replacement tenant is found, the rent is payable up to the time the new tenant moves is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Grampa,

I think having a clause covering the situation is a great idea . I can certainly see it working for you in your situation of handling a far greater number of lets than the average individual landlord.

Fortunately, I've never had a problem. Tenants have always agreed my proposed charges/deduction and I've never had an issue with ending the tenancy.

I've never quite understood why some landlords want to penalise an outgoing tenant if a suitable replacement tenant can't be found to immediately replace them. I take the view that I'd have to find a replacement if the tenant left normally so it's the same situation......it doesn't mean more work.....it's the same work just done sooner than expected. 

It could in fact turn out to be far better than it might be if the tenant had left in line with normal procedures. Why do you consider it important enough to penalise the tenant ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It does come up on a fairly regular basis when a tenant wants/requests to be released from a tenancy. This can be for many reasons and we try to help when we can. But it is my job to look after the landlords interests and keep vacant periods to a minimum and with some it is a fine line whether they can afford to be landlords and with the recent tax changes, that is likely to make it harder still for some landlords.

I had a request yesterday from a single mum who has been given a council house so its a understandable request. I explained to her the obligations of the AST she signed but agreed to speak to the landlord about a early release, on condition we find a new tenant. So we find out what the latest date she can move in to the council house, apply to the HB office for a month overlap of HB and with that we should get plenty of time to find a replacement tenant. 

We have turned down the odd request if they want to vacate in December or early January for obvious reasons.

The charge for early release is for 2 reasons, one to deter and the other because it involves a lot of juggling and rushing around in a very small window period between one tenant moving out and the new one moving in which might only be 2-3 days to arrange any check-out, works, cleaning, inventory etc. The outgoing tenant pays rent up the day before the new tenant goes in, including this empty period.  

Of course we have had the odd tenant where it has suited us and or the landlord they the leave early.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes that all makes sense. I can see that as an agent you're driven by your landlords requirements and a need to minimise their voids and maximise their rental income. Operating this way probably delivers what both agent and landlord wants.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...