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Tenancies and licences ended by landlord notice to quit

Tenancies and licences that can be ended by a landlord serving notice to quit (NTQ) and the requirements for a valid notice. 

This content applies to England

When a notice to quit is required

A landlord must serve a notice to quit to end a periodic tenancy or licence of an occupier with basic protection. For example:

  • tenancies where there is a resident landlord in the building

  • temporary accommodation provided by a local authority under a homeless application

  • tenancies that have lost their secure or assured status because the tenant no longer lives there as their only or main home

Other tenancies that can be ended by a notice to quit include:

  • contractual tenancies under the Rent Act 1977

  • the tenancy or licence of an agricultural occupier not protected by the Housing Act 1988

  • a family intervention tenancy granted by a private registered provider of social housing

Tenancies not ended by a notice to quit

A notice to quit served by a landlord does not end a tenancy protected by the Housing Acts 1985, 1988 and 1996. This includes:

  • secure and flexible tenancies

  • introductory tenancies

  • demoted tenancies

  • assured and assured shorthold tenancies

A landlord must serve the correct type notice of seeking possession before bringing possession proceedings on these types of tenancy. 

Standard minimum notice period

The minimum notice period for a valid notice to quit must be at least either:[1]

  • four weeks

  • the period of the tenancy or licence if this is longer than four weeks

The notice period for yearly periodic tenancies is six months.

The notice must end on the first or last day of a period of a tenancy. This means that it might need to be longer than the minimum period.

A tenancy agreement may also require the landlord to give a longer period of notice.

Tenancy periodMinimum length of notice to quit
one weekfour weeks
two weeksfour weeks
one monthone month
three monthsthree months
six monthssix months
one yearsix months

Calculating the notice period

In calculating the notice period, the day on which a notice to quit is served is included but the last day referred to in the notice is not. For example, a notice served on a Tuesday that expires on a Tuesday four weeks later would comply with the four weeks' notice requirement.[2]

A notice to quit must expire on either the first day or the last day of a complete period of the tenancy.[3] For example, in the case of a monthly tenancy commencing on the first of the month, the notice can expire on the last day of any given month or the first (even if that is a short month, such as February).

For a quarterly tenancy that began on 1 January, if a notice to quit was served on 15 January, the earliest date that the notice could expire would be 30 June as this would be the last day of a tenancy period. This would allow at least one full quarter's notice to be given, ending on the first or last day of a tenancy period.

The landlord can include a savings clause if they are unsure of the correct date. For example 'Your tenancy will end on (date) or the day on which a complete period of your tenancy expires next after the end of four weeks from the service of this notice'. A notice to quit that includes a savings clause is be valid.[4]

The landlord cannot start possession proceedings until the notice period has expired.[5]

Form and content of notice to quit

A landlord's notice to quit must be in writing but does not need to be in any prescribed form.

It must include both of the the following statements:[6]

  1. 'If the tenant or licensee does not leave the dwelling, the landlord or licensor must get an order for possession from the court before the tenant or licensee can lawfully be evicted. The landlord or licensor cannot apply for such an order before the notice to quit or notice to determine has run out.'

  2. 'A tenant or licensee who does not know if he has any right to remain in possession after a notice to quit or a notice to determine runs out can obtain advice from a solicitor. Help with all or part of the cost of legal advice and assistance may be available under the Legal Aid Scheme. He should also be able to obtain information from a Citizens' Advice Bureau, a Housing Aid Centre or a rent officer.'

There is no requirement that the notice to quit includes the name of the tenant. Where the notice does name a tenant, it might be invalid if it names the wrong person. The Court of Appeal found a notice was invalid where it named a person as the tenant, where the tenancy had been assigned to a company registered at the same address.[7]

Service of notice to quit

The landlord must serve a notice to quit on the tenant. If the tenant does not acknowledge service, the landlord must prove that the notice was served.

Section 196 of the Law of Property Act 1925 allows for valid service of the notice to quit to be made by registered post or recorded delivery, or personal delivery to the tenant's property, but only if the tenancy agreement explicitly states that service will be effective where it is done in accordance with section 196. Alternatively, the agreement can provide expressly for service by these methods.[8]

A notice to quit can be served by the landlord's agent when they have the appropriate authority.[9]

Once served, a notice to quit cannot be withdrawn.[10]

Joint landlords/tenants

A notice to quit served by only one joint landlord is sufficient to end a periodic tenancy or licence. The other joint landlord does not need to consent or have knowledge of service.[11]

A notice to quit served on only one of the joint tenants is sufficient to end a periodic joint tenancy.[12]

Fixed term agreements

A notice to quit can only be served to end a periodic tenancy. A notice to quit served by a landlord during the fixed-term of a tenancy will be invalid. It does not end the tenancy even if the notice period expires after the expiry of the fixed term.

The exception is if the tenancy agreement contains a break clause that allows for early termination. In this case the landlord can serve a notice in line with the requirements of the break clause.

Time of day a tenancy is deemed to end

A tenant or licensee is entitled to stay in possession until midnight of the day on which the notice expires, regardless of the time of the day the tenancy begun or the notice was given. [13]

The same apply to fixed term agreements which expire automatically by effluxion of time when the term comes to an end. The tenant or licensee is not required to give up possession until midnight on the day on which the fixed term expires. [14]

Last updated: 12 June 2023


  • [1]

    s.5 Protection From Eviction Act 1977, Doe d Peacock v Raffan [1806] 170 ER 812; Parker d Walker v Constable [1769] 95 E.R. 913. .

  • [2]

    Schnabel v Allard [1967] 1 QB 627.

  • [3]

    Crate v Miller [1947] All ER 45, CA.

  • [4]

    Fletcher v Brent LBC [2006] EWCA Civ 960.

  • [5]

    Plaschkes v Jones [1983] 9 HLR 110.

  • [6]

    Notices to Quit etc. (Prescribed Information) Regulations 1988 SI 1988/2201.

  • [7]

    O G Thomas Amaethyddiaeth CYF & Anor v Turner & Ors (2022) EWCA Civ 1446.

  • [8]

    Wandsworth LBC v Attwell (1995) 27 HLR 536, CA.; Blunden v Frogmore Investments Ltd [2002] EWCA Civ 573; s.196 Law of Property Act as amended by the Recorded Delivery Service Act 1962.

  • [9]

    Jones v Phipps (1868) LR 3 QB 567.

  • [10]

    Tayleur v Wildin (1868) LR3 Ex 303; Fareham v Miller [2013] EWCA 159.

  • [11]

    Leckhampton Diaries Ltd v Artus Whitfield Ltd 83 LSG 875, QBD.

  • [12]

    Hammersmith and Fulham LBC v Monk [1991] UKHL 6.

  • [13]

    Bathavon R.D.C. v Carlile [1958] 1 Q.B. 461; Portmadoc V.D.C. v Antoninzzi (1973) 226 E.G. 2155; Page v More (1850) 15 Q.B. 684; Meggeson v Groves [1917] 1 Ch. 158.

  • [14]

    Re Crowhurst Park [1974] 1 W.L.R. 583.