Terminating tenancy agreement guidelines

B Templeton asks:
(updated on Friday, April 20th 2007)

My tenant's live-in boyfriend has on several occasions kicked large holes in the flat's doors, mended them badly and done it all over again. I have been told by Tenancy Services and Scotney Williams, lawyer, that as the damage is not "structural" I cannot quickly get my tenant out and that I must give her 90 days notice. Meanwhile my flat is being damaged, though immediately repaired, (albeit unprofessionally) and I am stressed waiting out the 90 days. I have to take notice of Tenancy Svcs and the lawyer but the situation seems loaded on the tenant's side. Any third opinion?

Our Experts Answer:

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 allows the Tenancy Tribunal to make an order terminating the tenancy if the Tribunal is satisfied that the tenant has caused, or has permitted any other person to cause, or has threatened to cause, substantial damage to the premises. The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 offers no definition of ‘substantial damage’. As the decisions of the Tenancy Tribunal do not create binding precedent, meaning that each case is assessed on its own merits, there is nothing to say that every adjudicator would see the need for the damage to be structural in order to be substantial. Repeated instances of damage to the premises that has a high chance of continuing if the tenancy is not terminated may be viewed as being substantial, however the Tribunal determines each case based on the evidence before it. There is nothing preventing a landlord from issuing a tenant with a 90 day notice to terminate a periodic tenancy and making an application to the Tenancy Tribunal to terminate the tenancy at the same time.

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