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DIY during a vacant notice period


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My tennant has been a good tennant and gave 3 months notice as per the lease, she then moved to her boyfreinds (upon giving notice) leaving the property empty but rent was still being paid etc.

The property had to be cleaned by her but it was empty of all her posseeions.

We have been looking for a tennant but because of the long notice period we have been picky and have found someone who will move in but they have their own two month notice period to serve. So they will move in 2 weeks before the end of her notice period saving her a couple of weeks rent

Without notifying her at 2 weeks into the notice period, I have had the place totally redecrorated and it still is as this was something I wanted to do. It is taking 14 days etc.

My tennant has now said that possession of the property has been taken back because her permission was not sought to enter and redecorate and that she is not liable now for any more rent until the end of the notice period because I have taken back control of the property.

I will lose 2 months rent. I offerred to stop decorating but she said that control and possession was in effect so it has removed her rent and cleaning liability. She says I have ended the lease with my actions.

What are my rights, I just wanted to make the property good for the next tennant and because she has given notice and moved out etc I thought it would be ok?

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My initial thoughts are to wonder why a 3 month notice would be required.

Is this an AST ?

If so a minimum of 1 month notice ending on the last say of a rent period is as required by legislation (from T).

A possible argument you have is that a LL can carry out repairs as is reasonable,

you have not restricted access as the T may desire, I assume locks have not been changed.

I also assume that your actions would not prevent the T living at the property if they desired, that is that your works did not make the house uninhabitable.

A 'LL' will often carry out works during a tenancy, seemingly this is all you have done.

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Your tenant is in the right in this case but I think it is debatable that you have ended the tenancy by going in and decorating. The tenant had the right to have possession right up until the last day. You had no right to enter the property during the tenancy withhout her consent and to add to that by doing work you can't now ask her to clean up! What planet are you on?

If the tenant wanted to get difficult she could take you to court for harrassment and' prevention of quiet enjoyment of the property' so I would back down, forgo the two months rent and make a note not to do this one again.

It is illegal to take 2 rents at the same time on one property - I'm not saying you were trying to do that but just for info.

it is tempting to want to hurry things along but sometimes you just have to play the waiting game.


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The lease I was told to use it by the agency and had a 3 month notice period, it is a 12 month lease with a 3 month notice etc.

The property is not really livable as it is totally being re-decorated and the tennant said it did not need it etc. There are no repairs etc The tennant says she cannot live there if she desired and that is her choice within the notice period.

She just says possession has been taken without notice and it is now not livable plus I have used water and electricity without permission that she is paying for to do the redecorating and the mess created is not something she is now liable to clean up?

She says the rent is paid up until the 12th of June and she is not paying anymore. She also says this work has stopped any new tennants moving in plus she says I have refused viewings due to the painters etc.

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I agree with the tenant. You took possession back of the property. Put it down to expierance and think your self lucky that you have the rent paid up 12th june.

Legally a tenant DOES NOT have to give notice during the fixed period of a tenancy. Once a contract goes periodic (month to month) they HAVE to give one months notice.

Just because the contract states 3 months it is not enforcable.

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..........and from me also

You have taken back the property by virtue of the fact you have commenced renovation work so therefore you tenant is correct in what she is saying.

The very least you could have done, with hindsight that is, is to have asked her permission to enter to redecorate.

The tenant only needs to give you 1 months notice anyway....by law....so the 3 months notice is uneforceable.

Good luck...you have learnt a landlording lesson so move onto the next tenant.


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