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Ending a Tenancy

It is important that you understand the process that must be followed if your landlord wants to bring your tenancy to an end. This will ensure that you do not move out of a property that you still have a legal right to occupy. It is also important to understand what you need to do if you want to bring the tenancy to an end - if you simply walk away, you are likely to find that you will continue to be liable to pay rent (and the landlord may choose to take action to recover the money owed).

Most tenancies are originally set-up with a 'fixed-term' of at least 6 months. It is generally more difficult (for both the landlord and the tenant) to end the tenancy during this fixed-term. When the original fixed-term comes to an end, you and the landlord may agree another 'fixed-term' or you could allow the tenancy to continue on a rolling basis (if this happens, the tenancy will be referred to as a 'periodic' tenancy). It is relatively straight-forward for either the landlord or tenant to end the tenancy once it has become periodic.

It is important to remember that a tenancy does not come to an end simply by the passing of time. Either you or the landlord (or both of you by agreement) must take action to formally bring the tenancy to an end. If the tenancy is not brought to an end you are likely to continue to be liable to pay the rent (and the landlord may choose to pursue you for this money).

How can my landlord end my tenancy?

Most tenants are entitled to a written notice to leave (usually referred to a Notice Requiring Possession or a Notice Seeking Possession) if the landlord wants to end the tenancy. After the notice has expired, the landlord must obtain a court order (if the landlord tries to evict you without a court order, this could be unlawful and you should obtain specialist advice).

If you share living accommodation (e.g. a kitchen or bathroom) with your landlord then you may only be entitled to 'reasonable notice' from the landlord (and the landlord may not need to obtain a court order in order to evict you).

Detailed advice on the steps that your landlord will need to take to end your tenancy can be found on Shelter's website by following this link.

Further advice on the steps that your landlord needs to take to end your tenancy can be obtained from our Housing Solutions Team or the Citizens Advice Bureau.

How and when can I end my tenancy?

You cannot normally end your tenancy during the 'fixed-term'. The only exceptions to this are if your landlord agrees to you ending the tenancy early or if the tenancy agreement includes a 'break clause' allowing you (or the landlord) to end the tenancy early. If your landlord does agree to you ending the tenancy early, it would be a good idea to ask for confirmation in writing.

Once the fixed-term of the tenancy has ended, it should be relatively straight-forward for you (or your landlord) to end the tenancy. Most tenants will be required to give at least one months' written notice to the landlord in order to bring the tenancy to an end.

Detailed advice on the steps you can take to bring your tenancy to an end can be found by following this link.

Does it make any difference if I am a joint tenant of the property?

The advice above applies whether you are a single tenant or a joint tenant. If you are a joint tenant then only one of the tenants needs to serve a notice on the landlord and this will bring the tenancy to an end for all of the joint tenants.