Tenancy Management

Forum Spotlight: HMO tenant gave notice then changed their mind

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

A landlord contacted us recently with an issue around a HMO that has six tenants.

One tenant had been renting a room for three years and paid on time. For the past two years they had not lived in the property, because they moved in to live with their partner, but they still paid the rent for the room on time.

The problem

The tenant had then given notice to leave. Due to this, one of the other tenants then asked if they could rent out the tenant who is leaving’s room, agreeing to pay £50 more each month due to the room being a very large en-suite room. The landlord agreed to this.

Two weeks on, and the tenant who had given notice then got in touch with the landlord, telling him that because he and his partner have broken up, that he wishes to stay in the property.

The landlord in this case wanted to know where he stood legally. The tenant in question have his notice in writing, has an AST that is on a periodic month to month contract.

A new tenant had also been arranged to move in to the property, to the vacant room, however a formal contract for this has not been signed yet.

The solution

The first member to respond to the Landlord’s query on our Forum suggested that because the tenant gave valid written notice initially and the landlord accepted it, it can not be withdrawn nor stopped.

He also stated that the tenancy will end once it expires, and nothing can stop that. Following this, the choice of who the landlord houses is their decision.

Another member agreed with this suggestion, and also added that if the tenant is question does not move out, then he can not be forced out. This member suggested that the Landlord issues the tenant who wants to stay with a new tenancy serving everything, including acknowledgment of these prescribed documents.

They also added that the proposed tenant does not have a legal right of tenancy because the checks had not been completed yet, prescribed documents not served and contract not signed. The landlord could be honest and explain the situation to this tenant.

Response from our Landlord Advice Team

Our Landlord Advice Team then offered the following advice in the forum. They said:

“Unfortunately, despite the tenant giving your notice, unless he actually moves out – you cannot let the other tenant move to his room and you cannot let the new tenant move into the vacant room

The only thing you can do is inform the tenant that unless he moves out when his notice expires, you will have no option but to seek possession through the county court. In order to do this the court forms you need to complete are the N5 & N119 and you may need a solicitor in order to proceed with this.

Once the tenants notice expires, do not accept rent. What you need to do is write to the tenant explaining that you will be charging him an “occupational charge” for his remaining time at the property – also known as MESNE payments”.

Learn more

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

1 Comment

  • Why on earth would anyone want to make everything so difficult for everyone? The landlord is perfectly entitled to accept a change of mind if he wishes, and in this case it seems he has not contracted elsewhere so it seems it would be simple enough just to explain what’s happened, apologise profusely to those who wanted to move, and have the original tenant stay. Why dangle the prospect of legal action all over this, it will just make everything very sour.

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