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Notice to Quit: Steps to Dismiss Overholding Commercial Tenants

5 November, 2019

A short synopsis of Irish Landlord and Tenant law relating to the termination of a commercial lease in situations where the tenant is “overholding” and the form of notice to be provided by a commercial landlord in these circumstances.

Leases may terminate for a number of different reasons, which vary for commercial and residential tenancies. With commercials leases, it is common practice for the lease to include an end date, most commonly known as the “Termination Date”. If a commercial tenant remains in occupation following the Termination Date, this is classified as “overholding”. In the event that a commercial landlord wants an overholding tenant to leave the premises, they must give notice to the tenant in advance that the lease is to end. This is known as “Notices to Quit”.

If a landlord intends to serve a Notice to Quit, they must first review the terms of the lease, as this often sets out the notice period required. If the lease does not specify the notice period, there are prescribed notice periods which are based on how the rent is reserved in the lease.

A Notice to Quit should only be served where the tenant remains in possession after the Termination Date and continues paying rent. Once the notice has been served, the landlord should mark any rent received as “mesne rates only”, to ensure that they do not waive the original notice served. Once the notice expires, the landlord should not accept any further rent received, as this may also be considered as waiving the notice served. If the tenant refuses to leave, the landlord can then apply for an order of possession.

Unless stated otherwise in the lease, there is no set form for the Notice to Quit. The key factors are that the intention to end the tenancy is clear to the tenant, and that it is addressed to ‘the tenant and all other persons in occupation’. Where the landlord is not serving the notice themselves, prior written authority must be given to the person serving the notice.

In summary, where a commercial landlord has a tenant who is deemed to be “overholding” and they want them to leave, they must first look to the terms of the lease for the notice period required. In circumstances where the notice period has not been set out in the lease, the landlord should look at how the rent is reserved and the relevant prescribed period. The landlord must take care when accepting rent after the Termination Date, and they should not accept any rent after the notice period expires.

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Nolene graduated from the National University of Ireland, Galway in 2014 with an honours Bachelor of Corporate Law degree and an honours Postgraduate LLB degree. In 2015 Nolene graduated from University College Dublin with a Masters in International Law and Business…..

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