Moving somewhere new is always an exciting time, full of new opportunities and memories. In all the excitement, we can sometimes find ourselves signing a contract a little too hastily, resulting in confusion for everyone involved.

Whether you’re a landlord or tenant, knowing how to end a tenancy early is important just in case your personal situation should change.

Ending tenancy early: fixed term

What is a fixed term tenancy?

Many private tenants sign an agreement which details the set amount of months they’ll be living there and paying rent. This is typically 12 or 18 months, but it does vary. Once the agreed term is over, you’ll typically have to sign another agreement with a fixed term.

How can I end a fixed term tenancy early?

  • A break clause allows you or the landlord to end the tenancy early, although you’ll need to check if your agreement has one. Many have special requirements, such as only being able to use it for a certain amount of time into your tenancy. You’ll most likely have to stick to a notice period and follow other conditions, so have a good read of the agreement before you sign it.
  • You can request to surrender your tenancy, which is where you ask your landlord if you can leave early. If they agree, make sure you get the agreed date in writing should things get complicated later on down the line.

What happens if I leave without notice?

Often referred to as abandonment, moving out without giving notice doesn’t end the tenancy and you’ll still be liable to pay rent. The landlord can deduct the amount owed from your deposit or take you to court to pay the total amount.

Doing this will also result in a negative reference, which can prevent you from being able to rent a house in the future.

Periodic tenancy:

What is a periodic tenancy?

Also known as a short term contract, a periodic tenancy is when there isn’t a set time in which you have to stay. Instead, the contract will run weekly or monthly without a fixed end date. If you previously had a fixed term tenancy but this date has passed and you didn’t sign another agreement, you will have entered periodic tenancy.

How can I end a periodic tenancy?

  • Hand in a written notice letter stating when you want to leave. Check your tenancy agreement to find out how much notice you have to give before leaving. If it doesn’t state one, you should hand your notice letter four weeks before the date you want to move out.
  • You can request to surrender your tenancy, which is where you and your landlord agree to a shorter notice period.

Getting out of a periodic tenancy is a lot easier due to how short term the agreement is. Although a lodger isn’t considered a tenant, it also works in a similar way. You’ll have to give ‘reasonable notice’ to leave the property, which is normally a week or a month depending on if you pay weekly or monthly.

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