Notice - Landlord to tenant on a periodic tenancy (England)
February 18, 2015 4:59 AM   Subscribe

Am I correct in thinking that our landlord is required to give us 2 months' notice if they want us to leave the flat we are renting under a (now) periodic tenancy? I'm in London.

My landlord informed me last night, by email, that a family crisis has meant they will have to sell our flat and that, as a result, they will not be able to "renew our lease" at the end of March.

I rented the property with my girlfriend in the middle of March last year on a 6 month assured shorthold tenancy. When the fixed term was over, we did not sign a new lease, and consequently, have since been on a statutory periodic tenancy with the rent paid monthly.

The email my landlord sent did not formally give us 'notice to quit' or give us a date to leave. The 'end of the month' for our tenancy would be 12th March, I believe, which was 23 days from the email.

Can you please reassure me that:
a) my landlord needs to give us formal notice to vacate the property, and
b) that this needs to give us two months from the date of the notice?

I think that is what this page on suggests.

Lastly, I have a suspicion my landlord thinks we are in the fixed term part of the contract - although we definitely are not! Would it actually matter in this case, or would the landlord still need to give us two months' notice to vacate.
posted by knapah to Law & Government (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Worth checking out the Shelter website and/or calling them, they are an excellent source for tenant's rights.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:17 AM on February 18, 2015

Having read that .gov page, yes I would reply to the landlord stating that you are on a periodic tenancy (according to regulations blah blah, .gov website link) and pointing out that you are entitled to 2 months notice (see regulations here: .gov link).

PS - hope you took photos at the start of your tenancy, if the landlord gets irritated they are likely to gouge you for damage/cleaning costs when you leave. I mean, they do that anyway, but it is extra likely in this case. Ensure you clean v well and take photos when leaving as well. The more evidence you have that you left the place in excellent condition, the easier it will be to get your deposit back.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:24 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

As for deposits, the way they get you most of the time is by having a clause in the tenancy agreement about having the house "professionally cleaned." That way, no matter how clean you leave it, they can charge you for professional cleaning services once you've left. Ask for copies of invoices for this - I got quite a big chunk of money back at the end of one tenancy after it turned out they'd just pocketed the cash and pretended it was for a cleaner

The flip side of this is if you agree with the landlord you'll use a cleaner (and possibly agree on a particular cleaning firm if the landlord has one he knows does a good job), you don't need to actually clean anything yourself! Win! Also, they can't get you for any extra cleaning charges since you've already fulfilled your cleaning obligations (not that they won't try).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:36 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't know anything about renting in London, but I do know that eviction proceedings are expensive and time-consuming no matter where you are. If you chose to dig in your heels, you could make this person's life rather nasty.

I'd send a letter certified mail (I don't know what it's called in the UK, but it's where the receiver has to sign for it,) as well as an email saying,

We are in receipt of your email requesting us to move by March 15. Per local statute, we will require the full 60 days notice to find a new place and to move. We will vacate by April 15. We can attempt to be out by March 15, however given the short time-frame, we would need the return of our entire deposit upon acceptance of these terms, to facilitate our putting a deposit on a new flat, and a bonus of ££££ for a shorter than usual time-frame for moving.

Rather than posture, negotiate in your favor. You may discover that the landlord, when faced with having to compensate you for the short time-frame, will back off. Or, you may get a nice chunk of change for having to do this in a hot hurry.

Can't hurt.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:08 AM on February 18, 2015 [3 favorites]

Some landlords (or their agents) are in the habit of serving the 2 months' notice at the start of the tenancy, or when it is renewed. You should check your paperwork, to see if you already have a 'section 21' notice.

Whenever it is served, for such a notice to be valid, there are several technical requirements, including that any deposit you paid is protected in a statutory scheme. If you get a written notice to quit, it's worth getting it checked, to see if they tripped up.
posted by wilko at 12:31 PM on February 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm pretty sure that you are entitled to two months, but seriously, phone shelter, they're great for this stuff.
posted by Ned G at 3:47 AM on February 19, 2015

From the conversations I've had with Shelter and the CAB in the past:

Yes, you basically always need at least 60 days' notice before you can be evicted, and no, an email does not count as formal notice. I recognise that you probably don't want to be an absolute bastard about this, but you COULD technically ignore the email entirely, and when your landlord does get in touch, play dumb. Then they would have to send you a letter, and you would have 60 days from that date.

An actual eviction is much much more of a headache and hassle for him than it is for you. There are, however, a bunch of ways in which he could make life difficult for you if he wants to, so it's probably best to try and appear reasonable.

All that said, talk to your local CAB branch (call and make an appointment, they're unlikely to be useful at all on a spec walk-in), council, and/or Shelter.
posted by Dysk at 9:27 AM on February 19, 2015

(And if you'd already been served a section21 at the start or end of your tenancy, it'd have to have been hella foresight on the landlord's part to coincidentally set an expiry date of 12th March on it. If you do have a section21 notice and the date is in the past, it's "probably invalid" - talk to the CAB or Shelter for legal advice - and if it's in the future then that is the earliest possible date you can be evicted.)
posted by Dysk at 9:33 AM on February 19, 2015

If you do have a section21 notice and the date is in the past, it's "probably invalid"

This is not true. Every valid s21 notice has a date in the past. The notice provides a date after which possession is required, not a precise date on which it is required. They do not expire. There is a difficulty for a landlord to get this right at the start of a tenancy, in that he may need to demonstrate that it was served during the tenancy rather than prior to its commencement, which can be a matter of minutes. But landlords serve valid s21 notices at the start of a tenancy all the time.

Also, if the poster is considering following the advice above about letting the landlord pursue eviction proceedings, please be aware of the risk of being pursued for court costs.
posted by wilko at 11:50 AM on February 19, 2015

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