40 days and 40 nights for tenant’s notice
The recent appeal court decision in Lormor House v Glasgow City Council has confirmed that a tenant of land exceeding two acres which is let from year to year must only give 40 days’ notice to terminate the lease.
Glasgow City Council was the tenant of land of more than two acres owned by Lormor Limited. The lease ran from year to year, meaning that when no notice of termination was given, the principle of ‘tacit relocation’ applied and the lease continued for another year under the same terms.
The lease expired on 27 February 2012 and continued by tacit relocation to 27 February 2013. The tenant served a notice of termination giving the landlord 40 days notice that the lease would terminate on 27 February 2013. The tenant argued that 40 days notice was all that was required at common law.
The landlord disputed the validity of the tenant’s notice and raised an action in Glasgow Sheriff Court. The landlord argued that a minimum of six months’ notice was required to terminate the lease in terms of section 34 of the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1907.
The tenant was successful in the Sheriff Court but the landlord appealed to the Inner House of the Court of Session.
The appeal court agreed with the tenant and the Sheriff that section 34 of the 1907 Act did not apply to a tenant giving notice of termination, only to a landlord giving notice to their tenant. The court stated that there was no justification for interpreting the legislation in such a way as required that a tenant wishing to terminate a lease must give the same period of notice as a landlord must give.
This decision serves as a reminder to landlords that any tenant of land exceeding two acres which is let from year to year will be entitled to quit the tenancy on only 40 days notice. This will be particularly significant for commercial landlords who will wish to ensure that they have a secure tenant in place at all times.