This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website Got it!

Unilateral Decisions - are they legal?

  • There is no such thing as a unilateral agreement since only one party is involved.  However a unilateral decision might result in an agreement.  An agreement requires more than one party to agree (a bilateral or multilateral agreement).
  • A unilateral decision is a one sided decision without regard to any others affected or to any relevant parties.
  • This may be legal in the event a landlord decides to evict a tenant against their wishes, say due to a breach, or at the end of a tenancy term without the requirement to consult with the tenant other than to make a statement of intention to evict by providing, say a s.21. Notice To Quit
  • Similarly during a tenancy term a tenant may wish to leave prematurely - whist he is free to do so, he remains responsible for the obligations under the tenancy agreement - including payment of rent.
  • The Landlord is not obliged to agree to early termination of the tenancy.  He is entitled to unilaterally decide not to release the tenant from the agreement.
  • Whilst it may not be illegal, it is kinder and prudent to consult where possible in order to achieve the least acrimonious outcome in what may be an emotive topic.  It may be the landlord's house; but it is also the tenant's home.

See also

  • Periodic Tenancy 
  • Hammersmith Council v Monk 1992 (unilaterally end a periodic joint-tenancy )
    • Two joint tenants. One of whom provided notice to quit to the Council landlord, but neglected to inform the other joint tenant who remained in the property.  The Council re-possessed the property. The House of Lords (HoL) upheld a series of Court of Appeal (CoA) judgments deciding one party to a joint tenancy can end a periodic joint-tenancy unilaterally, by giving correct notice to quit.  Exceptions include express contractual terms to the contrary.  The Council was granted Possession.
Published: 29 September 2015 Last Updated: 1 December 2021