Timelines for giving notice

I have let out a property, the 12 month AST runs out on 22 February next year.
However, due to COVID I would now like to sell during the next year.

I think these are my options - am I correct?

  1. I discuss with the tenants in advance, and if they want to leave in February – then THEY can give ME notice on/before 22 December (as per the standard 12-month AST agreement issued by OpenRent) --> they move out on 22 Feb

  2. Due to the new rules around COVID, as a landlord I must now give SIX months notice. So I should do this ASAP (on/before 22 October), and the earliest they would leave is the 22 April (6 months from the 22 October)

Does that sound right?
Do I have any other options - e.g. if they want to move earlier, to take advantage of local rent reductions?

defo give the 6 month notice and have it witnessed

They are not legally required to give you notice if they leave at the end of the fixed term. However, they may. A lot depends on whether they are decent tenants and their circumstances. If they are unwilling to leave at the end of your 6 month notice then you will not get the property back in time to meet your sales deadline.

If you give them a Section 21 it doesn’t have to be coordinated into a rent period. You could issue it now so leave date would be 3rd April.

I would like some clarification please with the new laws.

Our tenants have a fixed 12 month agreement until March [2021.]

If we do not want to renew the tenancy do we have to give 6 months notice? If it laps into periodic tenancy where do we stand?

Who knows what may happen in 6 months I may want my property back? Or if I issue notice now we run the risk of rent not being paid?

Just seems a real bad situation for landlords or am I reading it all wrong?

Any help guidance appreciated

Hi Debbie

Yes, you would need to give 6 months notice. If it laps into periodic you still need to give 6 months notice.

The 6 month rule was designed to prevent evictions over winter, so logically the 6 month period shouldn’t be needed indefinitely and should really reduce next year when winter passes but who knows what will happen and not many changes get made in the landlords favour.

You’re right it’s not a good position for landlords. Unless you know you need the property I personally wouldn’t give notice as leaving a tenant on notice for 6 months does increase risk of non payment.

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Although if they are good tenants and care about preserving their credit score they wouldn’t not pay rent as it wouldn’t look good for any application they wanted to make in the future. But it would be my worry too.

We have the notice and a week later suddenly they couldn’t pay the rent and are moving out on the 15th Nov. Can we deduct the unpaid portion of the rent from their deposit?
They also have already requested the deposit release from mydeposits even through we are not getting back into the property until Sunday!

If their fixed term doesn’t end until next March then they are legally committed to rent for the duration. However, most landlords are willing to compromise and it sounds as though they are being responsible by leaving when they can’t pay the rent rather than just staying on and not paying.

How did they communicate their desire to leave on 15 November? Could this be construed as an offer to surrender the tenancy? Did you accept it? If so, then no further rent is due after 15 November. However, if you have not responded to their request yet then one compromise option would be to agree that they can leave on this date if they pay rent for the full month. If they agree then get them to put that offer in writing and sign it. You can then deduct the balance from the deposit.

We said they can leave on the 15th we are meeting them at 11am. They have put in a request to mydeposits for the deposit release. I have never been a landlord before so this is all new. I want to deduct the unpaid rent from the deposit. How do I go about it - do we mention it before the 15th, wait until we get the keys and then put it in writing? Any help on this would be appreciated.

As I said, if you said they can leave unconditionally on 15th, then no rent is due after that. If this is all new to you then I suggest you joint NRLA and do some training before you get into serious trouble.

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