Tenant gives notice by text and then changed their mind?

by Readers Question

12:16 PM, 8th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Tenant gives notice by text and then changed their mind?

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Tenant gives notice by text and then changed their mind?

A Tenant gave notice by text. I have promised the property to someone else. text

The tenant then changed their mind and doesn’t want to move out.

I would prefer it if they did move out.

What is my legal position?

Many thanks

Terry



Comments

Neil Patterson

12:20 PM, 8th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Terry,

Can I ask if you confirmed back in writing the tenants notice to quit ?

Terry Donohue

16:12 PM, 8th February 2017
About 2 years ago

confirmed by text straight away and also said I would be confirming by letter in the next few days.

Gary Dully

1:03 AM, 9th February 2017
About 2 years ago

See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1977/43/section/5

Validity of notices to quit.

(1)[F1Subject to subsection (1B) below] no notice by a landlord or a tenant to quit any premises let (whether before or after the commencement of this Act) as a dwelling shall be valid unless—
(a)it is in writing and contains such information as may be prescribed, and
(b)it is given not less than 4 weeks before the date on which it is to take effect.

Unless it's in writing, legally the notice isn't valid, according to the law.
Email would provide more certainty.

The text could have been sent by a prankster or malicious partner.

I know some people accept a text, but in a court, I wouldn't bank on it working in a landlords favour.

I have recently driven down a street in Everton, Liverpool and saw in big letters on a solicitors window, WE CAN DEAL WITH ROGUE LANDLORDS.
No win-no fee solicitors are now looking for a replacement for PPI.

Watch out!

Gary Nock

8:58 AM, 9th February 2017
About 2 years ago

The legal position is that the text although it may be considered as "in writing" may not be a valid notice.

And in any case if you want them out but they don't want to go then it's a Section 21 Notice if they are up to date with the rent, or a Section 8 if they are two months in arrears. Then its an order for possession. Then its bailiffs.

Dr Rosalind Beck

9:32 AM, 9th February 2017
About 2 years ago

A judge accepted an emailed notice to me to quit when it was presented to him quite a few years back. It was used as the basis to get double rent under the Rent Distress Act (I think it's called) as the tenants then left things in the house and said they would not surrender the tenancy as they wanted to cause us grief. We got several months of double rent back then using an Attachment of Earnings. However, we may have just been lucky with the judge, judging by what others say about the validity of texts.

Ian Narbeth

10:02 AM, 9th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Terry
First of all, what does the tenancy say? It may have notice provisions that say notices have to be in writing and sent to a particular address or served in a particular way. The notice provisions may expressly exclude texts as a mode of service (I do so in my tenancies). Some tenancies allow emailed service and the courts are more willing to accept emails nowadays.

A text is almost certainly not good service. That being the case it may have no legal effect. If the notice is a nullity then it is as if no notice has been served. You ought to have confirmed it in writing with the tenant. Absent a tenancy agreement that expressly allows service by text, you are stuck with the tenant. What I recommend you do then is to confirm in writing with the tenant that his "notice" is withdrawn and that the tenancy continues.

Romain Garcin

10:19 AM, 9th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Dully" at "09/02/2017 - 01:03":

"Unless it’s in writing, legally the notice isn’t valid, according to the law."

Indeed. However a text is definitely in writing.

The issue is really one of service. If the tenancy does not allow service by text then the landlord is free to refuse that method of service.
But if the landlord has accepted the notice then my understanding is that it is now valid and cannot be rescinded.

Kate Mellor

16:40 PM, 10th February 2017
About 2 years ago

On the point as to whether a text is valid notice, I would agree with Romain. Notice given which is not in accordance with the tenancy agreement need not be accepted as validly given if the landlord chooses, but there is nothing to preclude the Landlord from accepting the notice if he so wishes, which you have done, in writing. Your actions in readvertising and in finding a replacement tenant for the property are evidence that you accepted and acted on and relied on that notice. That said, I am not a lawyer and have never tested this point in court!

The more pertinent point however is whether the tenant will move out. I take it that the tenant hasn't put forward the argument that the text isn't valid service of notice and merely wants to rescind the notice which they themselves believe to be valid. If so, you can try refusing to allow them to rescind it and insisting that they will need to give vacant possession by the stipulated date.

My concern though would be that even if your tenant accepted your decision and agreed to move out, they may wind up saying they aren't able to move because they can't find anywhere else. This would leave your potential new tenants twisting in the breeze with no property to move into; and you with a protracted eviction process on your hands regardless of who is right in terms of the validity of their notice!

In addition, would you then have any liability to the people who had potentially incurred expenses on the back of your agreeing to let the property to them from a certain date?

I'm just putting these things out there for consideration as they are the types of scenarios which I would be running through my mind in this situation.

Dr Rosalind Beck

17:22 PM, 10th February 2017
About 2 years ago

If they don't move out on the date they said they were going to you will have a strong argument for double rent from the date they should have left until the date they actually left. Worked for me!

Gary Nock

17:37 PM, 10th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Well the threat may be enough Ros. That is if they can pay. And it would hinge on the court accepting a text as a valid notice.

http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2009/12/01/ancient-law-may-help-landlords/

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