Renters (Reform) Bill: A Tour Bus Guide – Stop 8: Tenant Notices to Quit
The Renters (Reform) Bill has been published. What does it say? What does it mean, for landlords and for tenants?
In this series, members of the 42BR Housing Team stop off at different landmarks, considering the implications of the new law along the way.
Tenant Notices to Quit
The effect of clause 14(3) in the Renters (Reform) Bill is to amend the notice period that a tenant is required to give, in order to terminate a tenancy.
The clause provides that a tenant will need to give at least 2 months’ notice in writing to the landlord, subject to any shorter period the parties may have agreed – whether such agreement is reflected in the tenancy agreement, or in a separate document.
A new section 5(1ZA)(a) is to be inserted into the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 to reflect this.
Clause 14(3) also confirms that a landlord under an assured tenancy will not be able to serve a notice to quit (by virtue of section 5(1) of the Housing Act 1988).
These amendments are only intended to affect notices to quit in relation to assured tenancies.
Clause 15 of the Bill then inserts a new section 5A into the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.
The new section 5A sets out that any provisions that require a tenant to give a notice to quit in a particular written form are to have no effect. It also provides that a notice to quit may be withdrawn before the date it is to take effect, if both the tenant and landlord agree in writing to the withdrawal.
The provisions on tenant notices to quit in the Bill are a sensible and straightforward simplification of the law, and they are likely to be welcomed by both landlords and tenants.
In many cases, where there is a monthly contractual (or statutory periodic) tenancy, the new section 5(1ZA) will mean that the length of notice a tenant must give to terminate the tenancy will increase from 1 month to 2 months. The Bill’s Explanatory Notes state that the longer default notice period is intended to enable the Landlord to re-let the premises with sufficient notice.
As the law currently stands, once a notice to quit has been served it cannot be withdrawn. The removal of that restriction is a particularly sensible change.
The prohibition on landlords specifying a particular form of written notice to quit is intended to remove any wilfully complex conditions, making it easier for tenants to satisfy the requirement to provide notice to end their tenancy in writing.
A Tour Bus Guide to the Renters (Reform) Bill
Stop 8: Tenant Notices to Quit
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