HOW TO PREPARE A NOTICE TO QUIT (Part 1)
After a landlord has settled the terms of a rental agreement and the tenant has been given possession of the rented premises, ever so often, the next important document that the landlord is likely to prepare is a notice to quit to deliver up the said rented premises to the landlord or his agent.
At common law, notices are usually given for the same period that rent was paid. However, statutes such as the Rent Restriction Act [RTA] and other legislation have modified the common-law position.
On the face of it, the notice to quit appears to be a simple, one-page document or a standard form to be filled out and handed to the tenant. The reality is that much care should be exercised in the preparation and service of the notice to quit.
Before the document is prepared, the landlord must ensure that he knows when the rental is due for payment each month according to the agreement between the parties. For instance, if the due date is the 15th day of each month, it means that a new rental
period begins on the 16th day of each month. Therefore, in a monthly tenancy agreement, the notice to quit must be drafted, signed and served on the tenant at least 30 days before the 15th day of the month. The notice would require the tenant to deliver up possession to the landlord on the 15th day of the month, since a new rental period starts on the 16th day of the month.
The landlord must also place in the notice a brief description of the premises occupied by the tenant. Thus, it might be necessary to say for instance, the 'one bedroom' or the 'top floor' or even 'the half side of the house' occupied by you. If there is a written rental agreement, reference can be made to that agreement.
Another challenge for the landlord is the reason for giving the notice to quit. The landlord is at liberty to give multiple reasons, if he so desire. However, where the rented property is a dwelling house, which is a controlled premises under the RTA, the landlord is obliged to give a notice for one of the reasons specified in that Act. Those include, but not limited to, breach of any expressed or implied covenant whether broken or not performed; doing anything that could be considered as a nuisance or annoyance, or for use of the premises for immoral or illegal purposes; or even to cause the premises to deteriorate or to become unsanitary; for failure on the part of the tenant to pay the rent in accordance with the agreement; for repairs and/or landlord requiring the premises for his own use and
Landlords, when considering the preparation of the notice to quit, must take into account that if the matter goes to court, the notice to quit and the service of the said document on the tenant will be very important evidence for consideration by the judge in making a decision in the matter.
A landlord who does not wish to prepare the notice to quit or fill in one of the standard notices to quit may elect to retain an attorney-at-law to do so.
NB: Next week, in Part 2, I will look at how the tenant may challenge some of the notices to quit and what a judge should consider in making a decision in these cases.