AST notice period

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    AST notice period

    Hi all. I have signed an AST agreement (me being the tenant) for a property with a start date of 02/09 and a term of six months. Rent is paid on a monthly basis. From reading in this forum I gather that no notice is required if I want to move out at the end of the six months. If I overstay by one day, the agreement becomes a rolling one-month contract, and I have to give at least one months notice, with the notice period ending on the first of a months.

    This is what my tenancy agreement states:

    9. HOLDOVER

    9.1 Without prejudice to the rights of the Landlord generally it is hereby agreed that if the Tenant holds over beyond the Term then this agreement may only be determined by the Tenant upon the Tenant serving on the Landlord at least two months notice in writing of the Tenant’s intention so to determine it, such notice ending on the last day of a period of the continuation tenancy.

    9.2 In the circumstances of any holdover of this tenancy the expression “the Term” contained herein shall extend to such extension, continuation or statutory periodic tenancy.


    There is also a "special tenancy condition":

    ………….11.6 The Tenant is required to give at least two month’s written notice of their intention to terminate their tenancy either at the end of any fixed term or thereafter.



    Am I right in thinking that the two months notice period for the tenant is not enforcable? I am confused because I'm unsure whether section 9.2 creates a contractual periodic tenancy or a statutory one.

    E.P.

    #2
    I am pretty sure that these clauses do NOT create a contracual periodic tenancy. Therefore the 'usual' rules for a statutory periodic tenancy (section 5, Housing Act 1988) will apply. These require your notice to expire on the LAST day of a tenancy period.

    Comment


      #3
      So that means, with the six months fixed period starting 02/09/2011, if I wanted to move out at the end of the six months (01/03/2012) I have no obligation to give any notice and can just vacate the property. If I stay on in the property, I have to give notice on the first of a month (the latest) to move out on the first of the following month, e.g. give notice by 01/04 (the latest) to move out on 01/05.

      I am just checking as I find the Housing Act makes quite difficult reading.

      Many thanks,
      E.P.

      Comment


        #4
        Yes, you have it. It is complicated, because not all the laws are in one place. Obviously, the notice has to be 'served' by the relevant date - popping it in the post on the 1st would not be good enough.

        Comment


          #5
          Brilliant, thanks very much for your advice!

          E.P.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by SternMusik View Post
            I am confused because I'm unsure whether section 9.2 creates a contractual periodic tenancy or a statutory one.
            I agree with Snorkerz, I don't think the clauses create a contractual periodic tenancy following the fixed term (even if they're trying to). They can't create a statutory one as only statute can do that.

            The fact that clause 9 is entitled 'HOLDOVER' is a bit of a nonsense (and evidence of dodgy drafting), because the word 'holdover' generally refers to a T remaining in occupation after the tenancy has been lawfully ended (for example, by T serving valid notice to quit in a periodic tenancy).

            I wouldn't worry about it - just proceed on the assumption that: 1) you can vacate at fixed term expiry with no further liability for rent, and no obligation to give two months' notice (but it's considerate to inform LL of your intentions in advance); and 2) a statutory periodic tenancy is what will arise if you're in occupation when the fixed term expires, and that statutory notice provisions will apply, not the stuff in the contract. If the LL were to try to claim against you for further rent in lieu of notice, I strongly doubt he'd get anywhere.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by SternMusik View Post
              If I stay on in the property, I have to give notice on the first of a month (the latest) to move out on the first of the following month, e.g. give notice by 01/04 (the latest) to move out on 01/05.
              To further explain Snorkerz's point about service; you'd have to serve the notice by 1st April for it to expire on 1st May.

              If you serve by hand, on a business day, before 4.30pm, the notice is served the same day. Otherwise it's deemed served on the next business day.

              If you post first class, then it's deemed served two business days later.

              A business day is Monday-Friday excluding Bank Holidays.

              Always advisable not to serve too close to a 'deadline'; i.e. better not to post the notice on Monday 30th March (or Thursday 28th March etc) in the above example.

              Advisable, but not essential, to obtain evidence of service (e.g. a witness to hand service, a free certificate of posting for postal service, and keep copy notice).

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks very much for your advice! I am now much more confident about my rights as a tenant.

                Originally posted by westminster View Post
                The fact that clause 9 is entitled 'HOLDOVER' is a bit of a nonsense (and evidence of dodgy drafting), because the word 'holdover' generally refers to a T remaining in occupation after the tenancy has been lawfully ended (for example, by T serving valid notice to quit in a periodic tenancy).
                I agree the drafting is dodgy - no end of spelling and punctuation mistakes. They are also trying to prevent me from changing the utilities over to a new provider:

                ………… 11.16 Tenants are not allowed to change Service Providers for any of the utilities (i.e Gas electric oil telephone etc without written permission from the landlord or landlords agent.


                The accounts with those providers will be in my name (and my name only), so I don't understand why I have to stick with their choice of provider if I can find a cheaper one, since I am responsible for the bills.

                E.P.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by westminster View Post
                  To further explain Snorkerz's point about service; you'd have to serve the notice by 1st April for it to expire on 1st May.

                  If you serve by hand, on a business day, before 4.30pm, the notice is served the same day. Otherwise it's deemed served on the next business day.

                  If you post first class, then it's deemed served two business days later.

                  A business day is Monday-Friday excluding Bank Holidays.

                  Always advisable not to serve too close to a 'deadline'; i.e. better not to post the notice on Monday 30th March (or Thursday 28th March etc) in the above example.

                  Advisable, but not essential, to obtain evidence of service (e.g. a witness to hand service, a free certificate of posting for postal service, and keep copy notice).
                  Excellent advice, many thanks. Would have never considered bringing a witness! Given the dodgy drafting of the contract that might be a very good idea though, as the agents probably cannot be trusted.

                  E.P.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by SternMusik View Post
                    ………… 11.16 Tenants are not allowed to change Service Providers for any of the utilities (i.e Gas electric oil telephone etc without written permission from the landlord or landlords agent.
                    I suggest you Google 'OFT guidance on tenancy agreements'. Whilst you should note that the guidance is NOT statute, i.e. the law, it'll give you some indication of what things you'd have a case to argue about if the LL tried to impose charges for alleged breaches.

                    Originally posted by SternMusik View Post
                    Excellent advice, many thanks. Would have never considered bringing a witness! Given the dodgy drafting of the contract that might be a very good idea though, as the agents probably cannot be trusted.
                    Perhaps, but it may be ignorance as much as anything, since agents aren't regulated. It's generally a good idea to go with an agent who is a member of ARLA or a similar professional body.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by SternMusik View Post
                      Excellent advice, many thanks. Would have never considered bringing a witness!
                      As I said, it's not essential, because it'd be enough for you to provide a witness statement confirming that's when you served the notice, but it doesn't hurt to have extra evidence if there were a dispute about when the notice had been served.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by SternMusik View Post
                        11.16 Tenants are not allowed to change Service Providers for any of the utilities (i.e Gas electric oil telephone etc without written permission from the landlord or landlords agent.
                        Landlord can not prevent you changing supplier.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by SternMusik View Post
                          ………… 11.16 Tenants are not allowed to change Service Providers for any of the utilities (i.e Gas electric oil telephone etc without written permission from the landlord or landlords agent.


                          The accounts with those providers will be in my name (and my name only), so I don't understand why I have to stick with their choice of provider if I can find a cheaper one, since I am responsible for the bills.

                          E.P.
                          It is entirely possible that the landlord or agent is getting a backhander (oopss!! Silly me, I meant "lawfully & energetically earned commission") from the supplier. Particularly if they are "Utility Warehouse"... I wouldn't touch UW with a very long barge pole.... I've been told by UW that they are not a Pyramid Scheme so that;s clear, UW is not a Pyramid Scheme paying backhanders to agents...

                          As has been said it's for you to decide, OFT says so..

                          It would be kind to let the LL know who you've moved the account to & the account number at some point.. If LL and/or next new tenant don't know when they try to set up a new account it can be bleedin/ murder..
                          I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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