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How much notice to end a tenancy?

(33 Posts)
NancyJones Wed 17-Dec-14 10:46:53

We have a house which we rent out. We would like to sell it at some point next year and just thinking through options. Current tenants have been in for 2mths of an initial 6mths tenancy. How much notice do we need to give tenants that we do not want to extend lease after this initial term? Also, I know they are doing up another house to move into. If we didn't give notice but they wanted to leave at the end of the 6mths because their house was finished, do they need to give any notice at all or just hand keys back to agent after 6mths.
Just wondering what the notice is on both sides at the end of an initial 6mths agreement. Thanks

mausmaus Wed 17-Dec-14 10:50:20

I think you need a good read through landlordzone and shelter...

have a look in your contract, notice periods should be in there.
rule of thumb if nothing is specified is you need to give 2 months notice and need to follow specific timelines and format.
the tennant has 1 month.

NancyJones Wed 17-Dec-14 10:58:18

Thanks. There's nothing in the agreement other than to say neither of us can terminate within the initial 6mths. They probably won't want the house after than anyway but I just wondered what notice we each need to give or whether the 6mths just ran it's course.
So we need to give 2mths and they, 1mth? Is that correct? Ok, thanks.

wowfudge Wed 17-Dec-14 11:33:22

Yes. A tenancy doesn't just end when the initial term expires. Either party must give notice to the other. You do need to do some research though on the correct way to give notice to quit.

If this is your thinking and you know your tenants have a renovation project on that they intend to live in themselves, I would ask them their intentions and timescales when you do an inspection at the three month mark. It is usually better to talk about these things than go straight to formal notices with no discussion.

NancyJones Wed 17-Dec-14 12:03:18

Thanks. Yes, of course if they wanted an extra month, say, then we're certainly not going to demand they leave after 6mths instead of 7. Not least because they have 2 small children.
Nothing specific in the contract so I'll assume 2mths from our side and 1mth from theirs. We won't be seeking new tenants after them so 1mth is fine. I'm assuming the 2nths from our end doesn't apply after the 6mths agreement is up. If it then becomes month to month I presume that no notice is required either side? Would that be right ?

mausmaus Wed 17-Dec-14 12:25:45

no, if you don't give notice for the end of contract it becomes a rolling contract automatically.
2 month ll notice and 1 month tennant notice is the legal minimum.

specialsubject Wed 17-Dec-14 12:27:55

give them informal warning now of your plans, then issue the correct notice at least 2 months before the end of the tenancy.

they also need to give notice if they want to go at or after the six months, on their side it is one month.

NancyJones Wed 17-Dec-14 12:29:37

So 2 mths even after the initial 6mths if it's a rolling contract? So we have to give notice at 5mths if they want the contract to continue to roll on for one extra month ie leave after 7?

NancyJones Wed 17-Dec-14 12:31:55

Just to be clear, there is no issue here regarding us throwing out or even uprooting a tenant. They needed to rent for between 5 and 8mths to complete renovation work on a house they have bought.

NadiaWadia Wed 17-Dec-14 12:46:52

I don't think that's true that a tenant has to give notice when they're on a fixed term? The contract is for six months (or however long) and if they leave at the end of the contract, not one day later, they have fulfilled their side. At least that's what people on MoneySavingExpert and (I think) LandlordZone often say. People who seem to have some experience/knowledge.

The requirement to give a month's notice (from the rental period date) only comes in when they are on a rolling contract.

This is not ideal for the landlord in terms of future planning obviously. In practice most tenants would give you notice out of courtesy, and you seem to have a good relationship with these tenants. But I shouldn't hold them too rigidly to the month's notice thing. Unless they go over the fixed term and onto a rolling contract of course. Anyway to be clear I would ask on somewhere like LandlordZone.

NadiaWadia Wed 17-Dec-14 12:59:56

See this:

But seems there are differences of opinion about it! However I am sure it will not be a problem to you if you have a mutually respectful relationship with the tenants, which you seem to.

specialsubject Wed 17-Dec-14 13:23:46

interesting one, and that explains why I didn't get a straight answer when I asked my agent!

never been an issue as most people do need to make plans to leave, but it is interesting to note that they are not compelled to do so. But stay one day beyond the end of tenancy and then a month's notice from the tenant IS required.

wowfudge Wed 17-Dec-14 13:26:13

OP, please read what the actual tenancy agreement states with regard to notice. I would still expect a tenant to give a month's notice to quit at the end of the initial fixed term - despite the link Nadia has posted. It is the norm.

You should speak with your tenants - if they tell you that think they will be out at the end of the initial six month term, ask them to write to you giving notice to quit, which must be sent before the end of the fifth month. If they want to stay on a bit longer to suit their plans, it is far better that they give you notice than the other way round than you trying to second guess them and giving them two months' notice.

If your tenants are pretty clear when they want to leave, it is better for you as a LL that they give you notice, which must be in writing (email is fine, make sure you also acknowledge the correspondence in writing).

Please read up on your responsibilities as a LL, giving notice and dealing with deposits and inventories, etc because it doesn't sound as though you are very clued up. Both the Shelter and websites have plenty of information of use to tenants and landlords.

radiobedhead Wed 17-Dec-14 13:46:06

It's disgraceful that a landlord can rent a property without knowing or even agreeing terms properly and having them on the tenancy agreement. Given your comment about them being ok to stay seven months rather than six you seem incompetent rather than evil but come on!

wowfudge Wed 17-Dec-14 14:30:17

radio - that's rather extreme: the tenancy agreement will set out the terms and protects both parties. It is the agreement as to terms - an initial six months rental of the property in question. It is clear that the OP is aware the tenants are renting as a stopgap rather than on a longer term basis, but she is considering what to do once the initial term expires.

NancyJones Wed 17-Dec-14 14:42:05

What on earth are you talking about, Radio?
We haven't rented out anything before. We were going to sell the house on receiving it but we heard a friend of a friend needed somewhere to rent whilst they did up their house. We used the estate agent to set up the agreement rather than manage it. Agreement just states initial 6mths within which neither party can terminate and beyond that by negotiation.
These tenants have bought a house worth double the one they are renting. We are not evil landlords looking to throw a family out on the street. We just want to clarify the position from both sides.

NancyJones Wed 17-Dec-14 14:42:51

Thank you, wowfudge!

EhricJinglingHisBallsOnHigh Wed 17-Dec-14 14:45:34

It's pretty shoddy to set yourselves up as landlords without a basic understanding of your role but hey.
You both need to give notice at any point after the 6 month period, or in the one or two months before the end of it. Landlord gives 2 months and tenant gives one.

radiobedhead Wed 17-Dec-14 14:46:50

I didn't say you were evil - I actually made the point you aren't!

NancyJones Wed 17-Dec-14 15:05:48

And if we were going to be longer term landlords then we would research it more. But we did this as a one off and used an estate agent to set up a contract which I assumed would state clearly the notice required by either party. I was surprised it didn't which is why I asked on here.

Radio, no you didn't say I was evil but only because I stated we were willing to extend the tenancy by a month!?!

Viviennemary Wed 17-Dec-14 15:09:54

I just assumed that a six months tenancy would run for the six months unless either party asked to renew. But I couldn't be sure on that. I think it would be nice if you gave your tenants as much notice as you possibly can.

NancyJones Wed 17-Dec-14 15:30:38

Vivienne, they want out pretty soon. They don't need notice to find somewhere else. They are going up a local wreck that they paid upwards of 800k for. As soon as it is ready they will move in. I was just asking opinions in procedure as I had (wrongly) assumed it would be in the tenancy agreement.

IssyStark Wed 17-Dec-14 16:22:41

Nancy, I think if you'd started out by saying you were accidental landlords due to inheritence, helping our friends of friends who have a fixer-upper and needed somewhere to stay, and the contract doesn't state notice periods, then people would have better be able to judge where you were coming from.

NancyJones Wed 17-Dec-14 16:32:28

Well I didn't state how it came about but I did say they only wanted it whilst they fixed up their house and I also made clear that we wouldn't be throwing them out after 6mths if they needed another month to sort out their house so I wasn't really drip feeding.
We also weren't sure what route to take so may have ended up as regular landlords after this stint. I didn't think the inheritance bit was relevant but maybe so.
I was just surprised that a rental agreement set up by a rental company for which we paid a fee even though we found the tenants and didn't need the house managed, doesn't state notice periods.

specialsubject Wed 17-Dec-14 19:43:48

unfortunately there is NO regulation AT ALL of letting agents. Anyone can do it without competence or financial guarantee.

doesn't stop the big ones cocking up too of course.

the bile of both the government and mumsnet goes straight to anyone having the temerity to rent out a property for money. The very idea that an agent could be incompetent...

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