Landlord's notice to end a regulated tenancy

Necessity of the notice to quit (NTQ) before applying to the court for a possession order depends on whether the tenancy is contractual or statutory.

This content applies to England

Contractual protected tenancies

The landlord must first serve a valid notice to quit on the tenant to end a periodic contractual tenancy regulated by the Rent Act 1977.

The landlord cannot commence possession proceedings until the notice period has expired, or in cases of fixed-term tenancies until the term has expired.[1]

When a contractual tenancy comes to an end, either by a notice to quit or by effluxion of time and the tenant remains in occupation, a statutory tenancy arises.

Notice rules for statutory regulated (protected) tenancies

When the statutory tenancy arises, the tenant ceases to have a legal interest in land, but instead has a personal right of occupation. The obligations of the parties to the contract remain as before[2]

In order to bring the statutory Rent Act tenancy to an end, the landlord must apply to court and prove a ground (case) for possession. For the grounds (cases) available against statutory tenants see Discretionary grounds and Mandatory grounds.

The landlord does not need to serve a notice on the tenant to end a statutory tenancy regulated by the Rent Act 1977 before starting possession proceedings.[3]

Between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2021 the landlord was required to serve notice of intention to commence proceedings[4] unless the court considered it just and equitable to dispense with the requirement to serve it.[5]

Rent and mesne profits

Rent is still payable but where the contractual protected tenancy has ended, the landlord can claim payment of mesne profits instead of claiming payment of rent. This is to avoid a former tenant being able to use the argument that the payment of rent following the termination of the original contractual tenancy has given rise to the creation of a new contractual tenancy.[6]

Mesne profits are a form of compensation for use of land, which may be claimed after a contractual protected tenancy ends but where the former tenant holds on to possession of the premises subject to the former tenancy. A landlord can recover mesne profits from the date of the expiry of the tenant's legal interest in the land and until possession is ordered. Mesne profits are usually calculated according to the fair value of the premises but in cases of regulated tenants this fair value will not usually exceed the level of a fair rent.[7]

Covid-19: temporary requirement to serve a notice of intention to commence proceedings

Between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2021 a landlord of a statutory tenant was required to serve notice of intention to commence proceedings unless the court considered it just and equitable to dispense with the requirement to serve it.[8]

The minimum notice period was[9]

  • four months for notices served between 1 June 2021 and 30 September 2021

  • six months for notices served between 29 August 2020 and 31 May 2021

  • three months for notices served between 26 March 2020 and 28 August 2020

In certain circumstances, a landlord can serve a shorter notice:

Exceptions for rent arrears

Between 29 August 2020 and 30 September 2021, the minimum notice period was four weeks if the landlord was seeking possession for rent arrears (case 1) and the level of arrears was at least:[10]

  • four months’ worth of rent for notices served between 1 June 2021 and 30 September 2021

  • six months’ worth of rent for notices served between 29 August 2020 and 31 May 2021

Between 1 August 2021 and 30 September 2021 landlords could serve a two months’ notice for rent arrears of less than four months if they relied only on rent arrears (case 1) when seeking possession.[11]

Exception for failing a right to rent check

From 1 June 2021 until 30 September 2021 the minimum notice period was two weeks where possession was sought following the tenant’s failure to pass the right to rent check (case 10A.[12] Between 29 August and 31 May 2021 the minimum notice period for case 10A was three months.[13]

Exceptions for grounds relating to the tenant’s conduct

Between 29 August 2020 and 30 September 2021, the minimum notice period is four weeks if the landlord is seeking possession because of the tenant’s anti-social behaviour (case 2).[14]

Last updated: 1 October 2021

Footnotes

  • [1]

    s.5, Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

  • [2]

    Sch.1, part II, para 13(2), Rent Act 1977.

  • [3]

    s.3(4), Rent Act 1977.

  • [4]

    s.3(4A) Rent Act 1977.

  • [5]

    s.3(4B) Rent Act 1977.

  • [6]

    Braintree DC v Vincent [2004] EWCA Civ 415.

  • [7]

    Swordheath Properties Ltd v Tabet [1979] 1 WLR 285, CA.

  • [8]

    para 2 Sch 29 Coronavirus Act 2020, suspended by reg 2 The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies and Notices) (Amendment and Suspension) (England) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/994.

  • [9]

    paras 2(2) and 2(3) Sch 29 Coronavirus Act 2020, as amended by reg 3(3) The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/914 and regs 2(3)-(4) The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/564; para 1(1)(b)(i) Sch 29 Coronavirus Act 2020 as amended by 3(2)(i) The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/914, reg 2(2) The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/284 and reg 2(2) The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/564; reg 3 The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/564.

  • [10]

    regs 3(3)(b) and 3(3)(c) The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/914 and reg 2(3)(a) and 2(4)(a) The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/564.

  • [11]

    reg 2(3)(c) The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/564.

  • [12]

    regs 2(3)(b) and 2(4)(b) The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/564.

  • [13]

    see regs 3(3)(b) and 3(3)(c)The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/914.

  • [14]

    see s.3(4C) Rent Act 1977; regs 3(3)(b) and 3(3)(c)The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/914.