Housing Ace 1988, Section 8, grounds 1-5, to be enforceable require Prior Notice.
Ground 1 provides that a landlord can legally return to a home he formerly occupied with only two months notice to the tenant regardless of the tenancy term.
Because this is exceptional and potentially onerous, tenants are entitled to be told “prior to signing” that the owner might return should they wish.
So what you might ask!
Well, letting agents, prior to signing a tenancy are required by the TPO to conduct a “Fact Find”.
This will establish any relevant facts and considerations potentially important to the landlord. Even fact not considered.
Should the landlord be invited to work abroad resulting in him letting his home but then say the job fails to materialise or the employer dismisses the employee landlord, the landlord might wish to return to the former home now let.
The minimum enforceable term for an AST tenancy is normally 6 months.
However, ground 1 is an exception, permitting the landlord to return to the former home with only two months notice.
If the letting agent failed to establish in the fact find the possibility that the landlord may wish to return early but failed to include such “prior notice” in the tenancy agreement, then the landlord must wait until the tenancy term ends or leaves
Meantime the landlord might incur inconvenience and costs.
The landlord could claim for such loss against the negligent agent! This is so even if, had the landlord been asked, would not have wished to deter tenants by including “prior notice.” The fact is the landlord is not required to conduct a postmortem an what he might have done. He only needs to establish that the agent was negligent for not highlighting such option.
Moral – always structure the fact find to include the question and warning of consequences should you fail to ensure such notice is provided.
In reality few landlords would perceive the possibility of having to return to the former home within the tenancy term.
Fewer tenants would sign the tenancy knowing the tenure could potentially end after only two months or following only two months notice. And, for this very reason tenants should be given prior notice!