Notice To Quit
The most common way of ending a tenancy or evicting a tenant is by a landlord serving their tenant with a notice to quit. A notice to quit operates to terminate the tenancy whether or not your tenant agrees. The landlord will need to serve a valid notice either in the form of a section 21 or a section 8 which you as a landlord need to make sure is correctly done. Failure to serve a valid notice to quit is a complete defense to possession proceedings. Meaning that the tenant will have a complete defense to possession proceedings if court proceedings are issued against the tenant.
Notices to quit have no application during a fixed term tenancy unless the tenancy agreement contains a break clause which expressly provides that the tenancy may be terminated by a notice to quit. A notice to quit must comply with common law rules relating to its validity. The first such requirement is that the notice to quit must comply with any express provisions relating to the service or validity of which are contained in the tenancy agreement. An express provision may for example be or state that a notice to quit should give more notice than usual or less notice than usual. Or an express provision may say that a notice to quit can be served in the middle of a rental period.
Common Law Requirement Of Notice To Quit
The main common law requirement is that a notice to quit should state clearly when a notice to quit will expire. Landlords have a duty to give a notice to quit which is clear in that the right date is stated or can be ascertained by the tenant by reference to his tenancy agreement. In addition to giving the correct length of time of when the notice to quit expires it is also vital that the notice expires on the correct day.
Possession proceedings can not be issued until the notice to quit has expired. It is quite common for landlords to serve notices to quit which as well giving a specific date also include a ryder or clause which is an over riding consideration if the expiry date of the notice is incorrect. There are no common law requirements relating to the signature of the notice to quit as long as the tenant is able to know who has sent the notice to quit.
Serving A Notice To Quit
A notice to quit may be served to the tenant by either the landlord or by an agent authorised by the landlord. In some circumstances a notice to quit may be given in the name of the agent but it is more usual for the notice to be served by an agent stating that it is served for and on behalf of the landlord.
One joint owner may also serve a notice to quit on behalf of the owner even if they are not named in the notice. Also a notice to quit served on one out of several joint tenants is sufficient to determine the joint contractual assured shorthold tenancy.
The notice to quit need not to be served personally by handing it to the tenant however the common law rules on what is otherwise valid service is far from clear. A notice is sufficiently served if left at the last known place of abode of the tenant or if sent by recorded delivery addressed to the tenant at his or her abode if that is letter is not returned by Royal Mail as undelivered.
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