Tenant only gave 5 days notice

by Readers Question

14:37 PM, 8th April 2014
About 7 years ago

Tenant only gave 5 days notice

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Tenant only gave 5 days notice

I have just had my tenants move out of the property during a 2 month section 21 notice I served on them. It was due to expire on 3rd June. The tenancy ended on 3rd April, but they contacted me only 5 days before they decided to move out saying they would be going on 30th March. The rent was paid up to 15th April and they have asked for a refund of those 2 weeks.Tenant only gave 5 days notice

Does anyone know if legally I have to give it back to them?

I did not ask them to move out any earlier than 3rd June!

Thanks

Tracey


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Mark Alexander

14:43 PM, 8th April 2014
About 7 years ago

Hi Tracey

Your tenants are perfectly entitled to leave at the end of their tenancy without giving notice at all.

I recently answered a very similar question to a tenant. I did ask why she disn't do the decent thing and give more notice but her response was that the landlord wanted her to sign a new contract, pay fees and hike up the rent. She couldn't afford it and therefore acted within her rights to move on at the end of the tenancy.

Based on what you have said you owe you owe your tenants a refund for the overpayment of rent from 3rd April (end of the tenancy) to 15th April - plus the return of their deposit of course.

Given that your tenants had been given notice (which is well within your rights) why might you consider it unfair for them to enforce their rights, i.e. to move out as soon as a new property becomes available and to end their tenancy on the pre-agreed end date?
.

Nigel Parry

14:50 PM, 8th April 2014
About 7 years ago

In short , No
Your notice to quit provided them with two months notice.

I do have a question, though; if the tenancy anniversary date was the 3rd of the month, then why did the rent last until 15th April?

Assuming a monthly contract, then unless you moved the 'pay date' the anniversary is always the 3rd, hence why you issued the Section 21, correct?

Just because you have given notice to quit, does not mean they can leave any time. They can, however give notice to you and depending on the dates as above, this might mean they move out a month before the due date of the Section 21.

It is really a question of what you want to do. Now you have the property back, they may argue that you 'mutually surrendered' the contract by accepting the keys back.

As long as you didn't actually accept the keys and say they can leave, then they will find it hard to argue the case.

Stick to your guns, they are not entitled to any refund, and I would argue they might actually owe you even more rent, due to lack of notice on their part.

A section 21, gives a date 'on or after' NOT 'any date up to' so they are trying to hoodwink you.

Direct message mee if you need any help.

Mark Alexander

14:57 PM, 8th April 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Nigel Parry" at "08/04/2014 - 14:50":

Nigel

I think you are wrong.

The contract terminated on 3rd April. How can a landlord charge a tenant rent after their tenants have moved out and the contract between them has terminated?

I am not disputing that rent may have been due up to the contract termination date but the tenant might on the grounds of mutual surrender as you have quite rightly pointed out.

In this particular instance the service of the s21 is a complete red herring in my opinion. If not, the service of a s21 could extend a tenants liability to pay rent by two months or more and that's certainly not its purpose as I'm sure other will confirm.
.

Industry Observer

15:39 PM, 8th April 2014
About 7 years ago

Mark is 100% correct and Nigel I am afraid you are incorrect (I won't be rude and say "wrong"!!).

Notice to Quit is a very specific notice issued on non 88 Act renancies by Landlords, and any notice from a tenant is a NTQ.

That terminology aside Mark is 100% right unless there is a clause in the agreement obliging the tenant to give notice (OFT hates them but it has never been tested in Court on that actual point - can tenant be obliged to give notice) then the tenant can walk end of term penalty free.

If you rent a hire car at the airport for 2 weeks hols do you have to ting Hertz the Weds before return flight to confirm you are leaving following Saturday?

NO

WHY?

Becaue you contracted to have the car 2 weeks and then return it.

A tenant contracts to occupy for 6 months then leave.

Give them the rent back - you will lose if they go legal and you may just find if you mess them about they may just trawl through your TDP peprwork with a fine tooth comb!!!

15:52 PM, 8th April 2014
About 7 years ago

Serving of a S21 does not extend a tenancy agreement, it is merely a piece of papper from the LL telling a tenent that the LL wants his property back please.

The fact is, the tenancy came to a natural end and your tenants vacated, you can not hold them to a S21 notice, unless they had not vacated when it expired.

Mark is correct in saying that a tenant does not have to give any notice to leave at the end of a tenancy, but it is helpful if they do.

in this instance, i would have to agree with Mark also on the fact that you do owe the tenants their over payment of rent. unless the rent due date had been changed at some point.

Gary Nock

16:21 PM, 8th April 2014
About 7 years ago

Tracey,

I agree with my learned friends Judges Alexander and Observer. On the face of it AST ends 3 April. Tenant has right to move out on that date without penalty and is entitled to refund of rent paid up until the 15 April. Now with the Section 21 I agree it is a bit of a red herring. But if it was served at the start of the AST ( some are - don't agree with it though) then it was served for another purpose - i.e. rent irregularities or something similar.

If this is the case If you wanted them out then just be grateful they are out without having to do an eviction.

Steve Elliot

20:35 PM, 8th April 2014
About 7 years ago

Tracey,

Unless the RDD was changed, you owe them a refund of 3rd April - 15th April rent -not up to two weeks though.

As has been mentioned, they can move out any time before 3rd April without giving you notice -unless there is a contrary stipulation in the contract. But, they must pay rent for all the period of the tenancy, irrespective of when they move out before the end of the tenancy.

Michael Barnes

23:37 PM, 8th April 2014
About 7 years ago

The wording of the question is not clear.

If it means "the fixed term ended 3 April", then I agree with Mark: no notice is required and rent is due only to 3 April.

If the fixed term ended at some other time, then the position is different.

crispybob

6:58 AM, 12th April 2014
About 7 years ago

I too find the question and the advice confusing, especially as this seems to mirror my situation with one property.

Surely when the AST period ends, the tenancy becomes periodic with provisions in the signed contract for the required notice from both parties. I served a section 21 notice on 7 Feb for possession on 26 Apr, the rent due date. The tenant has not served any counter notice and therefore I deem that rent up to and including 26 Apr is due. The tenant has found a new property and has elected to move out on 17 Apr. Whilst I feel that I am under no obligation to do so, I have offered to refund any days rent for the early vacation.

I should point out that the situation is more troublesome than I have eluded to, and the offer of a rent refund is to try and help get rid of a tenant who is at best awkward!

Lawrence Squid

9:43 AM, 12th April 2014
About 7 years ago

On the rare occasion that I have a tenant who wants to leave early, I smile sweetly, shake their hand and let them go with no penalty.
Then I find a tenant who does want to be there.
Why on earth would I want someone living in my property who doesn't want to be there and is resentful? Is the extra rent really worth the potential trouble?
Repeatedly, I have had ex-tenants, returning to the area, call me asking if I have any accommodation available. They also tell all their friends that I'm a top Landlord, and they contact me too. It pays dividends.
Perhaps I'm a bit soft and not very business like in this respect, but I've always believed that 'Happy Tennant = Happy Landlord'. I look after them, and I'm prepared to 'go the extra mile' to keep them happy and safe. In return, they pay into my business, and usually behave.
It's worked for ten years, with only a couple of poor tenants during that time.
Maybe I'm just lucky.

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