How much notice should I give my Tenants?

How much notice should I give my Tenants?

How much notice is really needed?

How much notice should I give my Tenants?

We were asked a question this morning by one of our Landlords - on the surface it seemed a really straight-forward question but perhaps it isn't as simple as many think because residential lettings legislation has changed quite a lot during the past couple of years. 

The question was “Assuming you are running on an  Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) where the tenants have paid for 6 months in advance, how much notice do you need to give your tenants”? 

Until recently, it used to be that we were required to allow for a period of notice that was equivalent to the same amount of time as the original period which had been paid for.  So, if a tenancy for a 6 month period had been agreed and paid for in a single ‘lump’, then you would (in theory) be required to serve 6 month’s notice. 

The second complication was that a notice period used to have to end at the end of a rent period - but no more!

Following recent changes in legislation which were introduced following the Spencer v Taylor case, Landlords are only required to give their Tenants just over 2 months’ notice regardless of the length or period of the fixed term they are on, or the period they have paid for.  This notice can’t be served more than 4 months before the end of the tenancy and of course, it can’t end any earlier than the end of the fixed term period that has been agreed.

 When we spoke with Chris at Dutton Gregory Solicitors, he explained that the rules for AST’s are different to other forms of leases or agreements because they’ve been specifically approved by Statute. 

For anything other than other than residential tenancies, for example company lets or commercial tenancies then Common Law applies and this works very differently.  In all cases however - residential or commercial - just over 6  months’ notice is the maximum that is required unless in an original fixed term that has been agreed to be longer, or unless otherwise specifically agreed - irrespective of the length of the agreement.

So, for Residential Lettings purposes on Assured Short-hold Tenancies, the  answer is just over 2 months, assuming the initial fixed period has ended at that time - and Maher Ross generally serve notice of just over 2 months and 3 days.

Of course, this article works as a 'general rule' however, if in real doubt, we do advise that you contact a Lawyer with a specialism in Lettings - it really is becoming ever more specialised!