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Tenant's notice to quit

Defect in notice

Waiver by landlord

Lewisham LBC v Lasisi-Agiri
[2003] EWHC 2392 (Ch); [2003] 45 EG 175 (CS)
Hart J

By virtue of s5(1) of the Protection of Eviction Act a tenant, as well as a landlord, who wishes to service notice to quit in respect of premises let as a dwelling must give not less than 4 weeks notice.

In this case the tenants notice fell short of the required four weeks and was therefore invalid. However, the landlord waived the requirements of the notice by accepting the keys and taking back the property. The issue arose in the context of possession proceedings brought after the tenant had failed to leave. The tenant sought to rely on his own invalid notice.

Held: He was not entitled to do so. The landlord was entitled to accept the short notice and had done so.

Termination date

Alternative dates stated in the notice - was it valid

Hussain v Bradford Community Housing Limited
[2009] EWCA Civ 763

Summary

A tenant's notice to quit which contained two alternative dates, one of which using a "saving clause" was good and one of which was not, was a valid notice.

Facts

H and S were granted an assured weekly tenancy. That contained a clause that they should give the landlord ‘not less than 28 days written notice expiring on any Friday should he/she wish to terminate’. The weekly periodic tenancy ended on a Friday.

When their relationship broke down, the landlord assisted S in drafting a notice to quit and on 24 January 2007 she served a notice to quit "with effect from Sunday 25/02/2007 or the day on which a complete period of your tenancy expires next after the end of four weeks from the date of this notice." S moved out and the landlord commenced possession proceedings against H on the basis that the tenancy had been brought to an end by the notice to quit.

Issue

S argued that the notice to quit was ambiguous as it gave two alternative dates. That as one specified date was a Sunday and therefore did not fall on either the beginning or the end of the period, it should be construed against B and therefore the notice should be held to be ineffective.

Decision

Patten LJ at para 11:
    “It is true that the notice gives two possible termination dates, but only one complies with the requirements of clause 2.2 of the tenancy agreement and that date, which is Friday February 23, is the first in time. In my judgment, there is no basis for construing the notice so as to exclude the operation of the catch-all provision. It was obviously inserted to ensure that the notice expired at the end of a contractual period of the tenancy if that was not Sunday 25 February and it would have been read by the respondent as intending to terminate the tenancy in accordance with clause 2.2 of the tenancy agreement: see Mannai Investment Co Ltd v Eagle Star Life Assurance Co Ltd [1997] AC 749. For these reasons, in my judgment, the notice to quit took effect at the end of Friday 23 February”

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