Giving Notice - is there a standard notice period in law?

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    Giving Notice - is there a standard notice period in law?


    My partner and I signed a six month tenancy on a house this summer. We've both since got jobs in another city; as a result, the house has been empty during the week for a couple of months, although we're still paying rent and visit the property most weekends to check on it, make sure it's tidy/looks lived in etc.

    About three months into the contract our landlord contacted us and asked if we'd be staying after the six months was passed. I said no. She then asked if we'd be interested in terminating the contract early if she found a new tenant: we said we'd be happy with that. We allowed her to show around someone who'd shown interest the next day in our absence. That person didn't want to take on the property, but we noticed the landlord had re-listed it on their website as "to let", and took that to mean it was an on-going search.

    We heard nothing more until this month, when they contacted us to say we hadn't notified them in time (in writing) of our intention to leave when the contract ends. Our contract says both parties have to give two months notice. Perhaps naively (in hindsight, very naively) we thought that by agreeing to them re-advertising the house, and giving verbal notice of three months, written notice wasn't so important. I sent it straight off after the phone call - but it's still only six weeks notice, not 2 months. They're now suggesting that we can be forced to pay another month's rent as a consequence.

    The contract we have is pretty generic, apart from inserted clauses about various administration charges they can ask us for to move in and out (which we'd never encountered with private landlords before) and the 2 month notice period, which seems excessive to me for a six month fixed term contract.

    In your experience, if it comes to a dispute, does the contract reign supreme? If they tried to keep our deposit, do you think would we have any comeback with the deposit protection scheme?

    Any advice much appreciated

    If you leave when fixed term ends, no Notice from you is legally essential according to most views- but you ought reasonably to tell L in advance anyway.

    If you leave after fixed term ends and when you're holding a statutory continuation tenancy [i.e. if letting is within Housing Act 1988], you have to pay rent to a tenancy-month end (assuming monthly rent) and- for the same reason- you have to give L one month's Notice to Quit.

    See very many existing threads re L's attempts to fix T with a two-month Notice requirement.
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).


      Thanks, Jeffrey, I appreciate your help. I think we'll make a stand!


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