Properly ending joint contract

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    Properly ending joint contract

    Q1 – Where is the rented property located (England / Wales / Scotland / N Ireland)?
    England

    Q2 – What type of Tenancy Agreement (TA) is this e.g. sole tenant / multiple tenant / room only?
    Multiple tenant

    Q3 – What date did current TA start dd/mm/yy?
    1 June 2021

    Q4 – How long was initial fixed term (6/12/24 months / other)?
    6 month

    Q5 – Does the TA state that rent is due weekly? / 4-weekly? / per calendar month (if so, on what same date each month)?
    Per calendar month, 1st

    Q6 – Did the TA require a tenant damage deposit to be paid? If so, on what date was this paid (dd/mm/yy)?
    Yes, 21 May 2021

    Q7 – If your query relates to a notice for repossession from the landlord (a Section 8 or Section 21 notice) or a tenants's notice to quit to the landlord, please provide the exact date the notice was sent/received (dd/mm/yy).
    Not sent yet.

    Q8 – Does the landlord live in the same property as the tenant?
    No

    ------------


    Hi all,


    I entered a joint contract with a friend back in July. Things didn't really work out, so after 3 months or so, I ended up moving out.

    The end of the fixed term is 30 November. I've got a few questions on how to properly end the tenancy as close to this date as possible. I've picked out the sections of the contract relevant to the period and notices:

    From the 'IT IS AGREED AS FOLLOWS' section at the start:
    1 The Landlord lets to the Tenant the residential Premises known as: <property address> (‘the Premises’)

    2 The Tenancy shall be from and including the 1st day of June 2021 (‘the Commencement Date’) to and including the 30th day of November 2021 and thereafter from month-to-month and until terminated by either party serving a notice on the other in accordance with this Agreement (‘the Expiration Date’), ‘the Term’.

    3 The Tenant shall pay to the Landlord... <snip>

    4 This Agreement is intended to create an Assured Shorthold Tenancy as defined by Section 19A of the Housing Act 1988 as amended and shall take effect subject to the provisions for recovery of possession provided for by virtue of Section 21 of that Act.

    And from the 'Notices' section:
    10.9.1 The Landlord notifies the Tenant pursuant to Sections 47 and 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 that the address at which notices (including notices in proceedings) may be served upon the Landlord is <estate agent's address>

    10.9.2 The provisions as to the service of notices in Section 196 of the Law of Property Act 1925 apply and any notices, or documents relating to the Deposit protection scheme used in this Agreement, or any other documents related to this Agreement served on the Tenant shall be sufficiently served if sent by ordinary first class post to the Tenant at the Premises or the last known address of the Tenant or left addressedto the Tenant at the Premises. This clause shall apply to any notices or documents authorised or required to be served under this Agreement or under any Act of Parliament relating to the Tenancy.

    10.9.3 Service shall be deemed valid if sent by email to the following email address provided by the Tenant at the start of the Tenancy and which the Tenant has confirmed as being their own: <my email> or <housemate's email>The Tenant may also serve notice by email to the following email address which the Agent/Landlord has confirmed as being their own: <estate agent's email>. Both the Tenant and the Agent/Landlord confirm that there are no limitations to the recipient’s agreement to accept service by such means as set out in Clause 4.2 of Practice Direction 6A of the Civil Procedure Rules.If the email is sent on a business day before 16:30 then it shall be deemed served that day; or in any other case, the next business day after the day it was sent.

    10.9.4 At the end of the initial fixed term as specified in clause 2 hereof, the Term shall continue on a month-by-month basis until either party shall serve on the other a written notice to bring the same to an end. Such notice, when served by the Landlord, should expire not less than two months after the same shall have been served on the Tenant. In the case of a notice served by the Tenant, such notice should expire no less than one month after service of the same on the Landlord.

    My queries:
    1. Reading 10.9.4, it sounds like the tenant can only serve notice after the fixed term, meaning the tenancy would exist for 6 + 1 months (or would it be 6 + 2 months since issuing a notice on the first day wouldn't be classed as 1 clear tenancy period?) Is my understanding right? Is it not possible to actually end the tenancy at the end of the fixed term?

    2. And as an aside, after reading the forums, I'm a slight confused as to whether this is an AST or CPT - it explicitly mentions that the contract will be month-to-month after the fixed period (which to my understanding indicates it's a CPT?), but it also states that the contract is intended to create an AST.


    Thanks for any and all help.


    #2
    It sounds like a CPT to me, in which case the notice conditions and timings are contained within the contract. Its worth noting that unless the TA makes it clear that one joint tenant may unilaterally determine the tenancy, it would require notice to be served from ALL joint tenants. If you're not sure then speak to a specialist housing solicitor about the wording and they should offer you a free initial opinion.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Lewmi View Post
      [SIZE=12px]2. And as an aside, after reading the forums, I'm a slight confused as to whether this is an AST or CPT - it explicitly mentions that the contract will be month-to-month after the fixed period (which to my understanding indicates it's a CPT?), but it also states that the contract is intended to create an AST.
      Both. They're describing different things.

      AST = Assured Shorthold Tenancy is a tenancy that's defined and regulated as such under the Housing Act 1988 as amended.

      CPT = Contractual Periodic Tenancy means the terms of the tenancy is periodic, in this case after an initial defined period. i.e. It's not a fixed term X months and done, end of tenancy.

      Originally posted by DPT57 View Post
      Its worth noting that unless the TA makes it clear that one joint tenant may unilaterally determine the tenancy, it would require notice to be served from ALL joint tenants.
      It's the opposite. Unless the contract requires any notice to be given by all joint tenant, then any one of them can give notice to determine the tenancy when it's periodic. Exact wording from Hammersmith & Fulham LBC v Monk [1991] UKHL 6.

      unless the terms of the tenancy agreement otherwise provide,
      notice to quit given by one joint tenant without the concurrence
      of any other joint tenant is effective to determine a periodic
      tenancy.
      I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

      I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Lewmi View Post
        10.9.4 At the end of the initial fixed term as specified in clause 2 hereof, the Term shall continue on a month-by-month basis until either party shall serve on the other a written notice to bring the same to an end. Such notice, when served by the Landlord, should expire not less than two months after the same shall have been served on the Tenant. In the case of a notice served by the Tenant, such notice should expire no less than one month after service of the same on the Landlord.

        My queries:
        1. Reading 10.9.4, it sounds like the tenant can only serve notice after the fixed term, meaning the tenancy would exist for 6 + 1 months (or would it be 6 + 2 months since issuing a notice on the first day wouldn't be classed as 1 clear tenancy period?) Is my understanding right? Is it not possible to actually end the tenancy at the end of the fixed term?
        "At the end ... shall continue ... until either party..." would suggest to me notice cannot be served until after the end of the "initial fixed term".

        From the way it's worded, it doesn't actually seems like the tenan'ts notice has to end at a period of the tenancy. In practice, you probably want to do so to avoid any potential arguments.

        A notice deemed served on the first day of a period of the tenancy, with an expiry date of the first day of the following period of the tenancy is exactly one period long and with a suitable end date (either last day or first day of a period). So 1 December to 1 January is fine, and ends the tenancy at midnight as the year end.
        I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

        I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by KTC View Post
          It's the opposite. Unless the contract requires any notice to be given by all joint tenant, then any one of them can give notice to determine the tenancy when it's periodic. Exact wording from Hammersmith & Fulham LBC v Monk [1991] UKHL 6.
          Thanks for the correction. I know it can cause problems in some cases, (such as the current NRLA AST template) as the drafting is ambiguous.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by KTC View Post

            "At the end ... shall continue ... until either party..." would suggest to me notice cannot be served until after the end of the "initial fixed term".

            From the way it's worded, it doesn't actually seems like the tenan'ts notice has to end at a period of the tenancy. In practice, you probably want to do so to avoid any potential arguments.

            A notice deemed served on the first day of a period of the tenancy, with an expiry date of the first day of the following period of the tenancy is exactly one period long and with a suitable end date (either last day or first day of a period). So 1 December to 1 January is fine, and ends the tenancy at midnight as the year end.
            Thank you for the clarification on this.


            To add a little bit to the confusion, I emailed the estate agent earlier today to specifically ask them:

            "The 6 month fixed period of our tenancy ends on the 30th November 2021. Just to clarify the process required to end the tenancy at the end of the fixed term, will we be able to serve our notice by the 30th October in order to end the tenancy on the 30th November?"

            They replied:

            "Yes you can give notice to leave on the 30th November 2021 – You can send notice now but you would still be responsible for rent and services until 30th November 2021"


            KTC, I strongly suspect your interpretation is right compared to the estate agent's. However ideally we want to end the contract as early as possible after the 6 months is up - if they're willing to accept such a notice I'm tempted to serve it as outlined above.

            I'm hardly a lawyer, but after googling around it sounds like the landlord can't treat an invalid notice as valid when it's a joint tenancy (Hounslow v Pilling [1993] 1 W.L.R. 1242), which leads me to suspect that if determined enough, the landlord could pursue us at a later date despite telling us that they've accepted our notice.

            Would we be covered better if we served a notice both on 30th October 2021 to expire on the 30th November 2021, and assuming the landlord accepts it, serve an additional notice on the 1st November to expire on the 1st December? I'm presuming this would limit the amount they could pursue us for to a single month's rent.



            Comment


              #7
              First, you wrote "we", are all the joint tenant happy to end the tenancy? If that's the case, things become a lot simpler. You just come to an agreement with the landlord/their agent on behalf of the landlord, and everyone's happy.

              The whole exactly how you end the tenancy to the letter of the tenancy agreement is only a concern if you're (you you, or you jointly vs the LL) doing things unilaterally.

              Your summary of Pilling is not correct. In that case, only one of the joint tenant gave notice. Whether LL accepting an otherwise invalid notice, or that the notice was a fixed term break notice (rather than a periodic notice to quit), it was ineffectively because the notice wasn't given with the consent of all joint tenant. If you all jointly are happy to end the tenancy on 30 November and give notice as such, and then the landlord (or their agent on their behalf) accepts it, the tenancy will end on 30 November.
              I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

              I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

              Comment


                #8
                That should make things a lot simpler then - we're both in agreement to end it as soon as possible since it's quite expensive for either of us to live on our own there.

                Thanks for all the help.

                Comment


                  #9
                  If the agent has said you can leave on 30 November, I think you could use promissory estoppel to prevent the landlord pursing you later provided you have evidence.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    From what I can remember, promissory estoppel gets a bit funny when it's combined with determination of tenancies. Here, landlord accepting a short notice thus binding the landlord is the estoppel in effect. But landlord can't be held to a promise to accept short notice in the future. If 30 November wasn't an okay notice date and the tenant give notice to that date, the landlord is free to turnaround and say "hold on". The landlord is only bound once they accept.
                    I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

                    I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

                    Comment

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