What is the legal position when only one of two joint tenants gives notice to quit?

By Bukola Aremu

In the case of Hammersmith & Fulham v Monk, the defendant had been one of two joint tenants. Without his knowledge, the other tenant gave notice to quit to the council to terminate the tenancy. The defendant did not leave and the council sought possession. The court held that in absence of any express terms in the tenancy stating otherwise, one joint tenant can unilaterally terminate a periodic joint tenancy by giving proper notice to quit. The court doubted whether the tenant who gave notice to quit was in breach of trust towards the other tenant, but even if she was, that did not make the notice to quit a nullity. Accordingly, possession was granted.

Monk was revisited in the recent and similar case of Sims v Dacorum Borough Council [2013] EWCA Civ 12. Mr and Mrs Sims were granted a joint introductory tenancy of a three-bedroom house on 15 March 2002. The tenancy agreement provided the following in regards to ending the tenancy…

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