What are the minimum notice periods and conditions whereby a landlord or tenant can serve notice to quit?
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A tenancy may be terminated by either the landlord or the tenant.
- Where a tenancy that was entered into for a specific period (i.e. six months) comes to the end of the six month period, a notice of termination does not have to be issued.
- If that period was 6 months or more and the tenant intends to continue in occupation, he/she must inform the landlord of that intention between one and three months before the six month period ends.
- It is important to note that it is an offence to purport to serve an invalid notice of termination and then act in reliance on it in a way that adversely affects the interests of the person on whom it was served.
- It is vitally important for the party who intends to terminate the lease to serve a valid notice on the other party.
2. The landlord must serve a valid notice of termination on the tenant
A valid notice of termination must be:
(a) in writing
(b) signed by the landlord or by his/her authorised agent
(c) specify the date of service
(d) where the tenancy has been more than 6 months state the reason for termination.
(e) specify the termination date, the tenant has 24 hours from this date to leave.
(f) state that any issue as to the validity of the notice or the right of the landlord to serve it must be referred to the Private Residential Tenancies Board within 28 days from the receipt of the notice.
(g) The notice may be served on the tenant in person, may be left at the rented property, or may be posted to the property. If it appears that the tenant is not in occupation, the notice may be served on the outside of the property.
3. Notice periods
Subject to the terms of the lease (tenancy) the notice period to terminate a tenant’s tenancy is determined by the duration of the tenancy as follows:
(a) Less than 6 months 28 days notice
(b) 6 or more months but less than 1 year 35 days notice
(c) 1 year or more but less than 2 years 42 days notice
(d) 2 years or more but less than 3 years 56 days notice
(e) 3 years or more but less than 4 years 84 days notice
(f) 4 or more years 112 days notice
4. Valid reasons for terminating a tenancy that has lasted more than 6 months and less than 4 years
Where a tenancy has lasted more than 6 months and less than 4 years, the landlord must state in the termination notice the reason the tenancy is being terminated and the termination will not be valid unless that reason relates to one of the following:
(a) the tenant has failed to comply with the obligations of the tenancy.
(Unless the termination is for serious anti-social behaviour the tenant must have been given an opportunity to rectify the matter and have failed to have done so for the termination to be valid.)
(b) the landlord intends to sell the property within the next 3 months.
(c ) the property is no longer suited to the needs of the occupying household.
(d) the landlord requires the dwelling for own or family member occupation.
(e) vacant possession is required for substantial refurbishment of the property.
(f) the landlord intends to change the use of the property.
In the cases of (d), (e) and (f) of the listed termination grounds, the termination notice must contain certain additional details as specified in the Act relating to the former tenant being given first refusal to resume the tenancy should the property become available for re-letting.
5. The tenant must serve a valid notice of termination on the landlord
A valid notice of termination must be:
(a) in writing
(b) signed by the tenant
(c) specify the date of service
(d) specify the termination date (the tenant has 24 hours from this date to leave
(e) state that any issue as to the validity of the notice or the right of the tenant to serve it must be referred to the Private Residential Tenancies Board within 28 days from the receipt of the notice.
(f) The notice may be served on the landlord or his/her agent in person, or may be left at or posted to the landlord/agent contact address.
6. Notice periods
Subject to the terms of the lease (tenancy) the notice period to terminate a landlord’s tenancy is determined by the duration of the tenancy as follows:
(a) Less than 6 months: 28 days notice.
(b) 6 or more months but less than 1 year: 35 days notice.
(c) 1 year or more but less than 2 years: 42 days notice.
(d) 2 years or more but less than 3 years: 56 days notice.
(e) 3 years or more but less than 4 years: 84 days notice.
(f) 4 or more years: 112 days notice.
(g)The tenant need not supply a reason for terminating the tenancy except where terminating for a breach of the landlord’s obligations or where the required notice period is only 7 days.
(h) Notice of termination of tenancy with multiple tenants
Where the tenancy is let to a number of tenants jointly, the notice of termination will be valid if it is signed by any one of the multiple tenants on behalf of all the tenants. The other tenants must be named in the notice. A purported notice is not valid if the other named tenants have not agreed to its service.
(i) Deemed termination of tenancy by tenant
A tenancy is deemed to have been terminated by the tenant where the tenant has vacated the dwelling without giving the required amount of notice and is in arrears of rent or vacates without any notice and is at least 28 days in arrears of rent.
7. Lesser Notice Periods by Landlords and Tenants
(a) Only 7 days notice need be given by a landlord to a tenant where the termination notice results from serious anti-social behaviour by the tenant or behaviour that is threatening to the fabric of the property or the property containing it.
(b) Only 7 days notice need be given by the tenant to the landlord where the reason for the termination is that the behaviour of the landlord poses an imminent danger of serious injury or death or danger to the fabric of the property or the property containing the property.
(c) Otherwise the normal notice period for terminating a tenancy by reason of non-compliance with tenancy obligations is 28 days for both landlords and tenants where the failure has been notified in writing and not remedied within a specified period.
(d) Where the breach of the tenant’s obligations is a failure to pay the amount of rent due, a termination notice may only be served following the written notification by the landlord to the tenant of the amount owing and the rent still being owed 14 days after that notification is received.
(e) Landlords and tenants are free to agree a lesser notice period than those specified in the Act. However, such an agreement may only be entered into at or after the time that one of the parties indicates to the other the intention to terminate the tenancy. It is not, for example, legal to agree to a shorter notice period at the time the tenancy is being first entered into.
8. Greater Notice Periods by Landlords and Tenants
Tenants and landlords are free to agree longer notice periods than those specified in the Act. However the maximum notice period that can be given by either party to terminate a tenancy where the notice is being issued during its first 6 months is 70 days.
(a) When a landlord is terminating a tenancy that is sub-let, the landlord must notify the head-tenant of any requirement to terminate the subtenancy. If so, the landlord must also serve the sub-tenant with a copy of the notice of termination.
(b) Where the landlord wishes the head-tenant to terminate the sub tenancy, the head-tenant must serve a notice of termination on the subtenant within 28 days of the head-tenant’s receipt of the notice of termination from the landlord.
(c) If the head-tenant intends to refer a dispute to the Board about the validity of the termination, the notice served on the sub-tenant must require the sub-tenant to inform the head-tenant within 10 days whether or not the sub-tenant also wishes to dispute the validity of the termination and the head-tenant may not refer the dispute until 15 days after the service of that notice on the sub-tenant.
10. Where the landlord does not require the head-tenant to terminate the sub-tenancy
(a) the head-tenant must notify the sub-tenant within 28 days of the contents of the termination notice received.
(b) the head-tenant must also notify the sub-tenant if he/she intends to refer a dispute about the validity of the notice to the Board and of the outcome of the dispute within 14 days of receipt of the Board’s determination order.
(c) If the termination of the head-tenancy is found to be valid, the sub-tenant would then become the tenant of the landlord.