Q. The tenancy is expiring next month on my rental contract and having not put the rent up for the last two years and taking into consideration the sudden surge in rents I contacted my tenant two months prior to the expiration date to say that I’d be happy to renew but with a rent increase to reflect the current market value. As you may imagine this was not received very favourably. I assumed since my tenant would not agree a rent increase that he would naturally leave at the end of the tenancy and proceeded to re-market the apartment and have now found new tenants who will pay the uplift. However I have received an email from my tenant today saying since he has not received formal notice to vacate he will not leave until I have done so, can he really do this? I assumed he would have to leave when the contract expires?
A. Sadly we naturally assume the best in everyone and would expect that given you have been in discussions for two months prior to the end of the current contract regarding the rent increase and that he simply chooses not to pay the uplift that he would be a decent human being and leave on the last day of the current contract?! Unfortunately this is not always the case and sad individuals fuelled by not getting their own way often seek advice and play the tenancy laws to their advantage just because! Unfortunately he is right and even though the contract is expiring unless you have served him a formal Section 21 Notice to quit then he can stay put until you do so. If he is on a usual Fixed Term contract then serve him with a Section 21(1)(b) Notice today. If you do this you need to give him two months’ notice plus say two days to be on the safe side. Make sure you hand deliver the Notice where possible and take photographic evidence to prove you have done so; you may need this if it goes to court at a later date. If he chooses not to vacate upon the expiry date of the notice to quit then you can start legal proceedings to evict, however given he is just trying to be difficult I really don’t think it will get that far, I think he is just being awkward for the sake of it and ultimately throwing his toys out of the pram for not getting his own way.