All About Periodic Tenancies

What are periodic tenancies? 

A periodic tenancy is the name given to a rolling tenancy that doesn’t have an end date, but instead operates over a certain period of time – usually month to month, though sometimes they can be quarterly or even weekly. 

Periodic tenancies often occur at the end of a fixed term tenancy. When the fixed term of an AST runs out, unless otherwise agreed, the tenancy automatically becomes a periodic tenancy. 

Periodic tenancies can be useful for landlords who don’t know how long they want to let their property for, or for tenants who would rather not be tied into a longer contract.

How to increase rent at a periodic tenancy

If you are a landlord looking to raise the rent at a periodic tenancy property, if your tenants don’t agree voluntarily to the increase you will only be able to increase their rent using a Section 13 notice. You can only use this notice once per calendar year. 

The government states that any increase must be ‘fair and realistic, which means in line with average local rents’ and you must give your tenants at least one month’s notice of the increase.

If the tenancy agreement your tenants have signed has a specific clause about changes to rent, then you must stick to the procedures as laid out in the clause.

Friends with a dog, Renting to Family and Friends

What notice needs to be given to end a periodic tenancy?

Citizen’s Advice advise that for tenants, the notice period you need to give if you want to leave your rental property is ‘Four weeks’ notice if your tenancy runs from week to week’ and ‘One month’s notice if your tenancy runs from month to month.’ 

If your rental period is for longer than a month then, ‘you need to give the same amount of notice as your rental period. For example, if you pay rent every three months, you’ll need to give your landlord three months’ notice.’

For landlords, the notice period they need to give when asking periodic tenancy tenants to vacate their property, according to the government ‘must be at least two months for Section 21 notices.’

You can learn more about Section 21 and Section 8 evictions in our video.

How to end a periodic tenancy

For tenants, you can end the tenancy at any time by giving notice to your landlord. You’ll just need to pay the rent up until the end of your notice period.

For landlords, if there are no issues such as rent arrears at play, you can use a Section 21, or ‘no-fault eviction’ to end a periodic tenancy. If there are problems with the tenancy and the tenants have broken terms of their tenancy agreement then you could use a Section 8 notice. 

You can serve a Section 21 notice by email, post or in person, but the notice is only considered served when the tenant actually receives it, so it can be important to have proof of receipt of the notice. You can also use a Form 6A to serve the notice.

You cannot always use a Section 21 notice. It isn’t legal in certain cases, including but not limited to situations where:

  • The tenancy is less than four months old
  • The tenant’s deposit isn’t being kept in one of the approved government tenant deposit schemes
  • The tenant wasn’t given a copy of the government’s How to Rent guide or the necessary compliance certificates (Gas Safety, EICR and EPC) before the tenancy started or the notice was served
  • The property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) and doesn’t have an HMO licence from the council
  • A tenant at the property has complained about the condition at the property and the landlord hasn’t respond or has provide an inadequate response

If going down a Section 8 eviction route, you’ll need to fill in a ‘Form 3: seeking possession of a property let on an assured tenancy or an assured agricultural occupancy’ notice.

Friends, renting to friends and family

Keeping evidence when serving notice

For landlords to evict tenants lawfully, it’s important that they keep evidence of serving notice for Section 21 or Section 8 evictions.

Property Mark says: ‘It’s essential you keep proof of the notice you gave to your tenant, either by completing Form N215: Certificate of service or by writing ‘served by [your name] on [the date]’ on the notice. If your tenant doesn’t leave by the specified date, you can use your completed Form N215 or notice to apply for an accelerated possession order.’
The ins and outs of periodic tenancies are complex, and this article should not be taken as legal advice. Landlords and tenants should always seek specific legal advice when dealing with tenancy matters.

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