Tenants Notice Period – please consider this scenario

Tenants Notice Period – please consider this scenario

10:01 AM, 3rd December 2012, About 11 years ago 25

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Readers Question

I wonder if anyone can give me advice on what they might do in my position over a potential tenants notice period dispute?

I’ve had good tenants in a house for about four years who recently told me that they might be looking for a larger property in the near future, but that there was no urgency. As we were due to go abroad on holiday for 3 weeks from 10 Nov I gave the tenant my daughter’s phone number to contact in case of an emergency.

On 22 Nov I had a call at 4am in New Zealand from the tenant. I sent her a text back and asked her to text as I was in NZ.

She did so, telling me that she’d tried to phone me a couple of times and that they were moving out on 7 Dec. I sent a text back saying I’d accept her text as written notice to leave on 22 Dec, that they should pay the usual rent on 1 Dec and I’d refund as appropriate. She immediately sent a text back saying “I tried to give you notice but couldn’t get a hold of you. A letter is at your house for notice to end on 7 Dec. I also tried to contact our daughter as well.”

My daughter sent me a text on the same day to say that she’d received a voicemail from my tenant on 22 Nov saying that they had tried to get hold of me and they were moving out.

I didn’t respond to to the tenant as I wanted to enjoy my holiday, but now we’re back and have found the letter at the house dated 10 Nov, saying they are moving out 10 Dec (not 7th as stated in texts).

My tenant may well have been unable to contact me for a few days earlier by phone as it was switched off, but we left on 10 Nov, and she didn’t phone or text me, or phone or text daughter until 22 Nov. Although the letter is dated 10 Nov it could have been delivered any time up until 30 Nov when we returned.

Surely I’m not being unreasonable to say that she could have done more to give me proper notice?

I intend to claim the deposit in lieu of rent as I’m sure she won’t pay the correct rent. The annoying thing is that I sent their deposit away for custodial protection just before we went on holiday to comply with the new Scottish regs.

What would readers advise me to do when I get in touch with them?

Roberta Goodall

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Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

10:13 AM, 3rd December 2012, About 11 years ago

Hi Roberta

What date was the post mark on the envelope?

If it was the 10th November or before I don't think you got a leg to stand on. If you've sill got the envelope and the post mark was closer to the 22nd November I think you have a much better chance of convincing an arbitrator that you tenant is 'trying it on'.

If you haven't saved the envelope I think it's a toss of a coin whether an arbitrator will side with you or the tenant. The questions you have to ask yourself are whether it's worth the hassle to argue the case and whether an argument might impact on other areas too, e.g. the state the house is left in.

If I were you I would try and meet the tenant and come to an amicable agreement.

18:44 PM, 3rd December 2012, About 11 years ago

Hi Roberta,
I'd say it's probably not worth getting worked up about. What do you stand to lose/gain unless they really underpay the rent? Best to concentrate your efforts on finding new tenants.
On a technical note, I believe the date of the month for the notice and therefore also ending the tenancy is normally supposed to be the same as that of the agreement (although the wording in the agreement may vary).


19:46 PM, 3rd December 2012, About 11 years ago

You should give them the benefit of the doubt, as you cannot demonstrate otherwise. They have been there for four years and you weren't there to receive the notice which is not their fault. They had also had the decency to forewarn you of their intentions. The deposit protection scheme is unlikley to back you up either so give in with good grace and get ready to re-let your property.

Neil Robb

20:47 PM, 3rd December 2012, About 11 years ago

Hi Roberta
I am so glad so many are telling to spend your time finding a new tennant. For four years they have been a good tennants. Why end on a sour note. Wish them well. You will be less stressed and you will get a new tennant.

Roberta Goodall

22:56 PM, 3rd December 2012, About 11 years ago

Thanks for all the comments. The latest update is that I have checked my rent account and there is a cash credit there which amounts to approximately a week's rent for this property so I assume it's from them for their December rent. So if I accept they are moving out on 10 Dec rather than 22 Dec I'm short of 2 weeks' rent. And I know there will be a lot of work needing done on the house as they have decorated (without permission).

My agreement just says that tenants have to give me one month's notice, and I've never been concerned about the date.

Roberta Goodall

23:58 PM, 3rd December 2012, About 11 years ago

Hi Mark

I do indeed have the envelope, it's stapled to the letter! But it was hand delivered so no clue as to when it was written/delivered

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

1:02 AM, 4th December 2012, About 11 years ago

Wouldn't you expect to redecorate after 4 years anyway?

2:38 AM, 4th December 2012, About 11 years ago

I wish I had tenants who stayed for 4 years, I d be getting them a christmas present

3:41 AM, 4th December 2012, About 11 years ago

Oh my what a curious mean spirited landlord you are. Scottish by reputation or location?

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

5:54 AM, 4th December 2012, About 11 years ago

A tin of magnolia perhaps? LOL

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