Landlord and Tenant Rights 

Aaron Crichlow1

March 28, 2024

In Bermuda, there are two main pieces of legislation that govern the relationship between landlords and tenants: the Landlord and Tenant Act 1974 (the "Landlord and Tenant Act") and the Rent Increases (Domestic Premises) Control Act 1978 (the "Rent Control Act"). Together, these Acts help to ensure that landlords and tenants understand what their duties and responsibilities are and have their rights protected.

The Landlord and Tenant Act applies to residential units with an Annual Rental Value (ARV) above $22,800 and commercial units. The ARV of any premise in Bermuda can be found at

The Rent Control Act applies to residential units with an ARV of $22,800 or less, which are called rent-controlled properties. Rent-controlled properties are subject to a higher level of legal governance and control than properties falling under the Landlord and Tenant Act.

The main objective of the Rent Control Act is to provide greater security of tenure for tenants, eliminate threats of evictions against tenants, and control increases in rent for tenants. As a tenant, under both Acts, your main responsibility is to ensure that you pay your landlord the agreed monthly rental payment on time and on a consistent basis. In exchange, a landlord’s main responsibility is to ensure that the tenancy is safe, well-maintained, and habitable.

There is a ceiling or maximum rent that can be charged in respect of rent-controlled properties. Known as the “registered rent”, the amount is defined by the Rent Commissioner of the Consumer Affairs Rental Unit (the "Rent Commissioner") and landlords must formally apply to the Rent Commissioner for permission to increase the rent of a rent-controlled property and amend the “registered rent”.

A landlord has the implied obligation to repair the structure, including the exterior of the house or apartment, while the tenant has the implied obligation not to damage the property and return the property at the end of their tenancy to the landlord in the same condition that they received it at the beginning of their tenancy.

Under both Acts, a tenant has the right to exclusive possession and quiet enjoyment of the rented premises. Exclusive possession gives a tenant the right to prevent other people, including the landlord, from entering the premises without their consent. Quiet enjoyment means that a landlord may not visit the property or demand access to it without good reason or without giving the tenant notice in advance. The right of tenants to remain in their property without the landlord removing them is called security of tenure.

Under the Landlord and Tenant Act, a landlord has the right to terminate a lease due to any breach of the rental agreement including failure to pay rent, late payment of rent, mortgagee repossession, antisocial behaviour, damage to the property, or if the premises are unsafe or not habitable or if repairs need to be done, subject to the terms of the lease itself.

To begin the process of eviction under the Landlord and Tenant Act, a landlord must first serve a written ‘Notice to Vacate’ on the tenant requesting the tenant to vacate the property on a specified date. Generally, landlords must provide notice of at least one month, subject to the rental agreement. An eviction is illegal if the Notice to Vacate served on the tenant is invalid.

In addition to acting in breach of the tenancy agreement, a landlord may also rely on specified grounds outlined in the Rent Control Act to evict a tenant from their premises. In such a circumstance, the landlord of a rent-controlled property has the right to evict a tenant based on any one of the following:

  • the tenant’s failure to pay rent or any other breach of the rental agreement (as noted above);
  • the landlord is rebuilding or carrying out major renovations;
  • the landlord requires possession for themself, their mother, their father, or any child or grandchild of theirs over the age of twenty-one years or married;
  • the landlord specifies that a tenant is undesirable, and the landlord has given the tenant an opportunity to correct the behaviour complained of and the tenant has failed to do so.

To begin the process of evicting a tenant under the Rent Control Act for failure to pay rent or breach of the rental agreement, a landlord must first serve a written ‘Notice to Quit’ on the tenant requesting that they vacate the property by a specified date.

Under the Rent Control Act, where a landlord serves a Notice to Quit for their own occupation or for a family member or for renovation of the premisses, the tenant has the right to serve a Counter Notice within 14 days of service of the Notice to Quit, disputing the right of the landlord to serve the Notice to Quit. The landlord must then apply to the Magistrates’ Court for an order for possession. If they fail to do so, the Notice to Quit is void.

In order for a landlord to serve a Notice to Quit on an undesirable tenant under the Rent Control Act, the landlord must first give the tenant the opportunity to remedy any harm caused by the tenant. If the tenant fails to do so, then the landlord can serve the Notice to Quit on the tenant detailing why they consider the tenant to be undesirable. The tenant has the right to serve a Counternotice within 14 days of receipt of the Notice to Quit if they dispute the allegation. The landlord must then send copies of the Notice to Quit and Counternotice  to the Rent Commissioner and request a hearing before the Rent Increases Arbitration Tribunal (the "Tribunal"). The Tribunal will either confirm the validity of the Notice to Quit, order the tenant to remedy the harm, or cancel the Notice to Quit if they are not satisfied that the tenant is undesirable thereby ending the eviction process.

Under both Acts, before a landlord can legally evict a tenant from their property, the Notice served on the tenant by the landlord must be valid (as specified above) and must inform the tenant of when they must vacate the premises. However, a valid Notice does not automatically give a landlord the right to evict a tenant from their property as the landlord must first wait to see if the tenant vacates the property by the requested date.

If a tenant fails to vacate the property by the requested date according to the Notice, a landlord has the right to formally apply to the court for an “order for possession” for the property. The parties will then receive an initial hearing date. During this hearing, the parties will have the opportunity to present their respective arguments. It is important that both parties attend all court hearings as the case may be struck out or an order of possession may be granted, due to the landlord's or tenant’s failure to appear, respectively.

The court may allow a tenant the opportunity to file a Defence or seek a stay of the order for possession. A tenant may wish to dispute the landlord’s claim for possession, dispute the validity of the Notice, or provide reasons why they require more time before vacating the premises such as in order to find somewhere else to live. A tenant should be aware of the difficulty in opposing an application for an order of possession if they do not have a good defence. It is imperative that a tenant contact an attorney immediately following receipt of a Notice to ascertain whether they have a good defence.

The court will either reject or grant a landlord’s application for an order of possession. If the application is granted the order of the court will specify when the tenant must vacate the premises. Tenants are given up to 3 months from the date of the hearing at which the order of possession is granted to vacate the property.

If a tenant fails to vacate the property by the requested date according to the court order of possession, the landlord may apply to the court for a Warrant to Evict to request permission to serve a Warrant of Eviction on their tenant. At this stage, the tenant is now residing illegally in the property. Therefore, the court often will not look favourably on the tenant in this position and will rarely reject a request by a landlord for the issue of a Warrant of Eviction. Once granted by the court, a Warrant of Eviction gives the landlord the authority to appoint the Provost Marshall/Bailiff to attend the property and physically remove the tenant from the property.

After a Warrant of Eviction is issued, a tenant then receives a Notice of Eviction from the bailiff, which details the date on which the bailiff will attend the property to remove the tenant. The bailiff will be legally entitled to forcibly remove the tenant and anyone with them from the premises, and the locks will be changed to prevent the tenant from re-entering. Additionlly, the landlord has the right to vacant possession of the property, meaning that all personal belongings and furniture of the tenant must be removed.

Landlords and tenants must follow the strict legal procedure throughout the eviction process to ensure compliance with the law and to protect the rights and interest of landlords and tenants. Failure to do so constitutes an illegal eviction. By understanding and respecting each other’s rights, landlords and tenants can foster positive and lawful relationships, ensure a fair and harmonious tenancy experience, and protect both parties from costly and time-consuming legal disputes.


1Aaron Crichlow (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) is a member of the dispute resolution team at Cox Hallett Wilkinson Limited. Aaron's practice includes landlord and tenant, employment, and contractual disputes, personal injury claims, and human rights complaints. 

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