Whether it should be given after the transitional period 31st December 1999 or before the expiry of the transitional period - three months before 1st January 2000 - the Control of Rent (Repeal) Act 1997 is silent on this. It does not seem to provide any direct answer to this question, thereby giving rise to an ambiguity. It can be argued both ways, either for the landlord or for the tenant.
- Argument For The Tenant
- Argument For The Landlord
A plausible or reasonable interpretation of the relevant provisions would be: the landlord is entitled to serve the three months notice on the tenant some three months before the expiry of the transitional period. This will enable the landlord to exercise his right to vacant possession of the premises immediately upon the commencement of the new millennium, as envisaged by s. 11(1) of the Control of Rent (Repeal) Act 1997. Such interpretation is more in accord with the spirit of the Control of Rent (Repeal) Act 1997.
Such interpretation will not affect the length of the prescribed transitional period. The transitional period of 28 months is intact, and it is more than sufficient for the tenant to look for alternative accommodation. To give a further period of three months after the transitional period is redundant, apart from the fact that it is inconsistent with the intent of Ss 5 and 11(1) of the Control of Rent (Repeal) Act 1997.
Three Months’ Notice To Be Served Before Expiry Of Transition Period
If the tenant is served with the three months’ notice before the expiry of the transitional period, the landlord will then be able to enter into a fresh tenancy with the tenant immediately after the transitional period i.e., with effect from 1 January 2000 (if both parties so wish), spelling out new terms and conditions obtaining in any ordinary tenancy agreement.
Such interpretation is consistent with the tenant’s statutory right to occupy the premises throughout the transitional period as well as the landlord’s right to vacant possession of the premises immediately upon the expiry of the transitional period. The interests of both the parties have not in any way been prejudiced.
A Practical Approach
Though a plausible or reasonable interpretation has been suggested above, the ambiguity is yet to be resolved. Perhaps, with a view to avoiding unnecessary dispute or litigation, the landlord may adopt a practical approach for the purpose of effecting an amicable settlement.
Fortunately, this is not an immediate problem. It needs only to be solved towards the end of this century which is more than two years from now. The landlord has ample time to ponder over the matter and toy with the idea of adopting a practical approach conducive to the interests of both parties. One practical approach that comes to mind is this:
To Inform The Tenant In Writing Well In Advance
First, the landlord may make it a point to inform the tenant in writing, well ahead of the expiry of the transitional period (at least three months before 1 January 2000), of the automatic cessation of the deemed tenancy on 31 December 1999 pursuant to s. 11(1) of the Control of Rent (Repeal) Act 1997.
[Note: In fact, no formal notice of such cessation of the tenancy is required under the Repeal Act to be served on the tenant. The notice merely serves as a reminder; it is not a legal requirement.
At the same time, indicate to the tenant in the letter that he has to vacate the premises in accordance with the said provision of the Control of Rent (Repeal) Act 1997 by the end of the century.
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