Can tenancy be ended with verbal notice?

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  • Can tenancy be ended with verbal notice?

    Quick summary:

    This is a three bedroom house with LHA tenants. The 6 month AST began in March 2009. The couple split up 3 months ago and the wife left, taking the three children with her.

    The tenant is not working and of course, has had his housing benefit reduced. He started to get into arrears and, after some discussion with my partner who pointed out that he was just going to get deeper into arrears living in a property he could not afford, gave one month's verbal notice. The AST (now periodic) is dated 16th of the month, but due to the arrears, my partner agreed to accepting the notice of 1 month ending a week early (tomorrow). Since giving notice we have been in contact with the tenant several times a week giving him help and advice regarding leaving the property in a good state etc and he has been well aware of his leaving date.

    Tonight I received a phone call from the tenant telling me he had been advised (CAB) that as his notice was not given in writing, it is not enforceable and he wants to stay on as he has no-where to go.

    To compound the matter, he had someone with him who claims to be a solicitor and work for a local council advising him he was in his rights to stay on as the notice given was verbal. I did put this third party right regarding a lot of information the tenant had decided not to share and this person backed down from 'representing' the tenant and apologised as they had heard only a selective parts of the story.

    So, the short version - is verbal notice acceptable to end the tenancy?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Amber34 View Post
    So, the short version - is verbal notice acceptable to end the tenancy?
    No. If the tenant agrees to surrender the tenancy in writing this may be acceptable (depending on terms of AST) - but this is not the case here. The tenant has been advised to stay put, which is quite common, as the council will typically not rehouse the tenant unless landlord evicts.

    You will need to serve valid written notice(s); serve s.21(4)(a); and s.8 g8, 10, 11. g8 is if tenant owes more than 2 months rent, if rent paid monthly. s.21 & s.8 g8 will give landlord mandatory possession.
    The information in my posts is provided 'as is'. This is not intended to be legal advice. Legal or other professional advice should be sought before acting or relying on this information or any part of it. I will not be held responsible for loss or damage arising from errors in the information or the way in which a person uses the information on this . For more information on your query use the '' link at the top of this page. Agreements, Forms & Notices can be found .

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    • #3
      Thanks for your reply Tom. Thankfully the tenant has agreed to go quietly, especially as we gave him a few extra days to move out!

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      • #4
        Glad it worked out. Just so you know even a formal written notice can be withdrawn by the tenant and you then have to follow court procedure to evict - I know because it happened to me!
        Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

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        • #5
          Originally posted by islandgirl View Post
          ...even a formal written notice can be withdrawn by the tenant and you then have to follow court procedure to evict - I know because it happened to me!
          A notice to quit cannot be withdrawn. Of course it is still the case that if the tenant does not leave that a court order must be obtained.

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          • #6
            sorry Lawcruncher you are correct. I meant that the tenant said "I'm not going" (this is what I meant when I said the notice was withdrawn). The legal advice I had at the time was that the notice was "not worth the paper it was written on" and did not help at all with the case for eviction
            Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

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