After three years in a rented granny flat, a reader has been given 30 days’ notice telephonically to vacate the property.
She wants to know if this is legitimate and what can be done about various maintenance issues which have not been resolved.
The reader initially rented the property in accordance with a written agreement of lease. When it expired, she remained in the dwelling on a month-to-month basis.
The reader says that during her stay there has been no inspection of the premises and the landlord did no maintenance.
Some problems have developed – such as leaks to the balcony – which the reader has periodically advised the landlord about.
It seems there is now a possible sale and the owner’s rental agent advised the reader to vacate within 30 days.
She would like to know how the inspection of the premises will be handled and whether the telephonic instruction to move out is sufficient.
See the reader’s question here.
The requirement as to the type of notice required for cancellation is also clearly set out.
If the tenant remains after the lease’s expiration with the express or tacit consent of the landlord, the parties are deemed, in the absence of a further written lease, to have entered into a periodic lease.
These are on the same terms as the expired lease, except that at least one month’s written notice must be given of the intention by either party to terminate the lease.
So, it is quite clear that the landlord or his agent, as is the case in this instance, is to provide the reader with written rather than telephonic notice of termination of the agreement.
In practice, it could happen that telephonic notice is given as a courtesy, with the notice then being confirmed or rather properly effected in writing.
But this does not appear to be the case.
Assuming that proper notice is given, an inspection of the dwelling should take place, preferably with both parties present.
The act states that at the expiration of the lease the landlord must arrange a joint inspection of the dwelling at a mutually convenient time.
This must take place within three days prior to such expiration to ascertain if there is any damage caused to the dwelling during the tenant’s occupation.
Failure by the landlord to inspect the dwelling in the presence of the tenant is deemed to be an acknowledgement that it is in a proper state of repair.
In this case, the landlord will have no further claim against the tenant.
The reader could approach the issue of notice in several ways.
The most straightforward would be to request the notice of cancellation and any related aspects to be provided to her in writing.
Like it or not, termination will probably take place in future.
Should she stay in the dwelling pending proper cancellation, the sale will take place subject to the lease, which means the reader will remain in the property until termination.
It would seem unwise to remain in the dwelling as the situation may become quite volatile and result in an unnecessary legal wrangle and costs.
But the choice, of course, lies with the reader.
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