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Break clause by tenant - email or WhatsApp?

I have a tenant who has been open about trying to find his own place to buy and then move out so I knew his tenancy was temporary. He whatsapped me in March '21 saying he may have found a place to buy, but haven’t heard from him since. Today I was notified that he is leaving on 10 June (16 days from today) as he is completing on that day and he will arrange for a new tenant to take his room. Now the last point was discussed before and I did mention that I would be grateful if a new tenant can be found, but 16 days are simply not enough for me to terminate one tenancy and start a new one, taking into account referencing and checks etc. Just as I made it clear that I cannot accept a tenancy termination on 10 June, he finally emailed me giving me written notice, but is still insisting on him moving out on the 10th as he notified me via WhatsApp back in March that his plan was always to move out in the “next few months”.

This to me is not a valid reason to shorten the 2 months notice period, what can I do if a tenant is adamant that he is entitled to leave earlier than that?

I am currently stuck abroad and am unable to be on-site. I also don’t have access to a lawyer, which I thought I should not need to dispute the above point…

Many thanks!

You are right . The notice period has to be as in the contract. 16 days notice is not enough. He should give a 2 month period ( which is the rental month).
Writing a text message with no specified date is not a notice to leave.
I would write to him and explain that he will forfeit his deposit if the appropriate amount of time is not given and outstanding monies shall be pursued through your solicitor ( and he will pay for legal costs).
Good luck

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Why are you giving the most important job in property letting to the tenant?

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Thank you for your comment, I have been a landlord for many years but somehow always got lucky with reliable tenants who paid on time and did not dispute any clauses in the agreement. And thank you also for confirming that WhatsApp messages cannot be considered a ‘written notice’.

I actually am not, I have been speaking to a number of local agents but was waiting for the tenant to give formal notice before I send an agent looking for new tenants.

Sorry for the misunderstanding
Watts app messages can be considered written notice but in the original text, you wrote, he did not specify a date thus that would not be considered written notice.
Written notice would be a date and it is a rental period not a calendar period.
Even statute is a rental month period.
Thus it is not the mode in which the notice is given but the amount of time he has, or has not , in this case alluded to.

His notice is invalid and you could hold him to the required contractual notice period if you wish. I would probably just let him go then and crack on with finding a new tenant.

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You need to be very formal and detailed, sending via 1st class post and cc to WA.

When you go to claim from his deposit you will need evidence of the contract, copies of WA messages etc to win your case. You will also not be allowed to have double rent from 2 tenants over lapping. So if you overlap by a week you need to give a weeks money back to the outgoing tenant.

If the contract states a month the tenant should give 1 notice of a date they will vacate. Stating they are looking is a chance for you to start to do your admin. You should always request a specific date to enable advertising for a new tenant. A woolly I’m moving out soon isn’t acceptable.

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I had a similar case where the tenant didnt pay the last month and then left half way through the next month, when I calimed against his deposit, on the basis that he hadnt given me a clear months notice theDPS awardedme only the halfmonth that he didnt pay for an effectivley told me to whistle for anything to owith notice. 2 months notice does not hold water you are only allowed 1 month by law now. Be prepared to be shaffted by tenants and the supposed changing laws in their favour by the Govt.

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The tenant can leave whenever he/she likes. As long as they pay the 2 months rent. Or any other deal you can agree.

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What happened to this in the end? Were you successful in claiming money back from the tenant?

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Hi there, sorry for the late reply. The outgoing tenant insisted not having to pay the 2 months’ rent and being able to leave when it suited him (which was practically speaking 10 days from the day we spoke), so in the end I made a compromise and we agreed that he would at least pay until the end of the first month and then be free to go. I still haven’t returned his part of the deposit as there are still tenants in the property and I can only do a proper check once they have left. Call me conflict avoidant, but this was extremely unpleasant for me to deal with and very disappointing if you ask me!

I hope you stated this clearly on the reference, that they twisted your arm in terms of leaving. I always do.

Tenants are extremely unpleasant sometimes when they see a way of “saving” a few pounds.

Totally agreed. In the end we are talking about 1 month’s worth of rent of a room in a shared home, which is not a negligible amount admittedly but still so unnecessary! Hope you don’t have to face such situations but these tenants exist everywhere.

Not sure what you mean by stoll tenants in the property? Was he in a joint tenancy?