Moral dilemma: Tenant asks for notice to quit; should I ?

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  • Moral dilemma: Tenant asks for notice to quit; should I ?

    The caretaker of an HMO I oversee has asked me to write a notice to quit for one of the tenants.

    I do not officially know why the tenant wants one written (but I can guess!) as he is free to leave at any time as notice is not required in the contract.

    I am happy to write a notice to quit as my aim is to keep tenants happy and if they dont want to live there then they should go. The rooms are easy to let. If I dont write a NTQ, the tenant may stop paying and then I will have to write one any way.

    I made it clear to the caretaker that if I write a NTQ and get a query from anybody about it I am not going to lie about why a NTQ was supplied.

    My question is by simply writing a notice to quit am I in any way doing the wrong thing?
    All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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  • #2
    I think it may go like this:

    A tenant who asks for a NTQ is looking to make himself homeless.

    A tenant who represents to the LA that he has been made homeless when he was in fact made homeless at his own instance is engaging in a fraud.

    If you reasonably suspect that the tenant wants the NTQ so that he can be housed by the LA you are participating in the fraud.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Bel View Post
      I do not officially know why the tenant wants one written (but I can guess!) as he is free to leave at any time as notice is not required in the contract.
      Notice requirement may not be in the contract, but there may be statutory obligations, depending on the type of tenancy.

      Is tenancy:
      (a) an AST in England or Wales?
      (b) in fixed term or periodic?

      If the answer is 'Yes' to (a) above, an alternative to a NTQ is a Deed of Surrender.
      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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      • #4
        Originally posted by Bel View Post
        The caretaker of an HMO I oversee has asked me to write a notice to quit for one of the tenants.
        Please be specific. What do you understand, in this context, by the expression "Notice To Quit"?
        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 http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
        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).

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        • #5
          I have assumed that "NTQ" means a notice to quit properly so called, any form of notice which is a preliminary step to taking possession proceedings or any other notice intended to end whatever the arrangement may be. Whatever the notice the principle is the same.

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          • #6
            Thanks for all posts

            I'm not worried about NTQ technicalities here; just the moral aspect.

            I do not like the idea of participating in any potential fraud; hence question.

            But am I not morally justified to ask him to leave by serving a NTQ, if I think he will be a problem if he were to stay as he will be unhappy? (Even though he isn't a problem at the moment.)
            All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

            * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * *

            You can search the forums here:

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            • #7
              Prediction

              You will refuse to issue notice to the tenant. The tenant will play up (eg unpaid rent, nuisance, damage). You will then issue appropriate notice to the tenant with a clear conscience.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Bel View Post
                But am I not morally justified to ask him to leave by serving a NTQ, if I think he will be a problem if he were to stay as he will be unhappy? (Even though he isn't a problem at the moment.)
                Whether you have a moral justification is a matter for your conscience.

                Legally I think an argument that you are justified in serving notice before there is actually a problem may come over as a bit sophistical. Whilst you may argue that you do not want as a tenant anyone who asks you to become involved in a fraud, the fact is that if you serve notice you have done what the tenant wanted.

                Unless you are prepared to inform the relevant authorities that the notice was served following the tenant's request, but not on account of it but because you did not want a dishonest tenant, it would be best to refrain from serving the notice until there is some other justification.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bel View Post

                  I do not officially know why the tenant wants one written (but I can guess!)
                  This is the problem. Your guess is that something dodgy's going on, which would make you party to that. Offer a Deed of Surrender instead, as Tom suggests.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bel View Post
                    Thanks for all posts

                    I'm not worried about NTQ technicalities here; just the moral aspect.

                    I do not like the idea of participating in any potential fraud; hence question.

                    But am I not morally justified to ask him to leave by serving a NTQ, if I think he will be a problem if he were to stay as he will be unhappy? (Even though he isn't a problem at the moment.)
                    If it's governed by the 1988 Act:
                    a. you cannot serve NTQ at all; but
                    b. you can serve a s.8/s.21 Notice if the circumstances allow.
                    What's the problem in that?
                    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 http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                    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).

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                      If it's governed by the 1988 Act:
                      a. you cannot serve NTQ at all; but
                      b. you can serve a s.8/s.21 Notice if the circumstances allow.
                      What's the problem in that?
                      I think that the problem (as identified by Lawcruncher earlier) is that having asked for notice to be served (presumaby s21), T may then apply for LA housing on the ground that he has been made homeless, which is not the case. Bel does not wish to be a party to this deception.
                      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                      • #12
                        I think most authorities refuse to accept s8 or s21 as proof of homelessness - waiting on the court possession order.

                        T may be hoping to get court possession order, but that will be at Bel's expense, which is obviously unjust.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                          I think that the problem (as identified by Lawcruncher earlier) is that having asked for notice to be served (presumaby s21), T may then apply for LA housing on the ground that he has been made homeless, which is not the case. Bel does not wish to be a party to this deception.
                          What deception? If L serves a s.21 Notice, T does have to give-up possession under it (or Court Order in consequence of it).
                          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 http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                          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).

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                            What deception? If L serves a s.21 Notice, T does have to give-up possession under it (or Court Order in consequence of it).
                            It is (or could be) a deception in that the T is directly asking LL to make him homeless when LL would not otherwise be minded to do so. Then T, in order to qualify for LA housing, will tell the council that he has been required to leave, which is not the case. When his eligibility for council accommodation depends on involuntary homelessness (as it does), I can understand Bel's predicament. Poppy's suggestion is sound.

                            However, if the T were minded to exploit the semantic ambiguities of the word 'demand' in this context (as you and I discussed on another thread), he could probably do so to his advantage. 'My LL demanded that I leave'. True or false?
                            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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