In this case, the landlord claimed £1,025 for rent arrears representing one month’s unpaid rent.
The agent had explained to the renter that the fixed term of the tenancy had ended, and that the tenancy was continuing on a month to month basis.
Shortly afterwards, the tenant brought a letter into the office, advising that they would be leaving at the end of the week – which would be two days later, and the end of a monthly rent period.
The agent had responded to the letter by email on the same day to explain that the tenant was required to serve one clear month’s notice to expire at the end of a tenancy period.
The tenant argued that they had served immediate notice, which had been accepted by the agent when they opened and read their letter without challenging it.
They also argued that they were not required to give any notice as the tenancy came to a natural end at the end of each month.
The adjudicator recognised that tenants are required to serve one month’s notice to expire at the end of a tenancy period in order to terminate a statutory periodic agreement.
It appeared that the tenant was confusing their ability to leave at the end of the fixed term without notice, with what would happen once they ‘rolled over’ into a periodic tenancy.
On that basis, the landlord was entitled to notice to the end of the following month.
The adjudicator also considered whether the agent had accepted the tenant’s letter of notice and waived any entitlement to full notice.
The adjudicator was not persuaded that this was the case: the evidence presented suggested only that the tenant had hand-delivered their letter, and that the agent had responded on the same day to reject the notice as being too short.
This case highlights the importance of clear clauses in tenancy agreements and reinforces the need for all parties to thoroughly check them to ensure they fully understand their responsibilities.
Sadly, much of the dispute in this case was due to ‘crossed wires’ with a tenant misunderstanding information they had been given in conversations with the agent.
The agent in this case has since revised their process to include a letter to tenants before the end of their fixed term tenancy, reminding tenants of their notice responsibilities.