McHale & Co. Solicitors Blog

Ending a Tenancy Agreement - A Tenant's Perspective

When renting a property, you sign a contract with your landlord outlining the rights and responsibilities of each party. This can be either written or oral and is known as a tenancy agreement.

However, either you or your landlord may wish for the tenancy agreement to come to an end. How you end the agreement will depend on the type of tenancy you have signed up to, and there may be complexities involved that make the process that little bit more difficult. This is why seeking legal advice is a great way to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible. At McHale & Co, we are often approached by people who wish to know their rights when either seeking to leave or having been asked to leave a property. We understand the complexities involved in such processes and are in the best position to guide you through to achieve the outcome you're hoping for.

Your tenancy will likely either be an assured shorthold tenancy or an assured tenancy. If your tenancy is for a fixed period of no less than six months, you will be classed as an assured shorthold tenant. This means you are less secure in your position than an assured tenant, as your landlord, provided they give two month's written notice, can apply to the court for possession of the property once the six-month period comes to an end. This is known as a Section 21 Notice.

If you want to end your tenancy agreement

There are various reasons why you might wish to end your tenancy, such as finding somewhere else better suited to your taste and budget, or being required to move to a different area. Whatever your reason, it is important you end your tenancy properly, as failing to do so can have serious repercussions. How you do this depends on whether you have a fixed term tenancy or a periodic tenancy. While the former is a contract for a set period of time, the latter is one that runs from one period of rent to another. The differences in ending these two tenancies can be summarised as:

  • Fixed term tenancies - These can be ended either as a 'surrender' - an agreement between you and your landlord to end the tenancy - or a break clause, which involves using a term in your tenancy agreement that allows you to end the tenancy early
  • Periodic tenancies - You need to provide your landlord with a written, valid notice to quit. This notice has to be for at least 28 days and must expire on either the first or last day of a period of the tenancy

If your landlord wants to end the tenancy agreement

Should your landlord wish to bring your tenancy agreement to an end, how they do so will depend on the type of tenancy you have.

If it is fixed term - and they have asked you to leave during this fixed term period - your landlord will have to provide a reason why you should leave that is outlined in the Housing Act 1988. Typical examples include if you have been unable to keep up with your rental payments or if you have been doing something illegal in the property, such as selling drugs.

If your tenancy is periodic, your landlord can serve you with a Notice to Quit, or Section 21 Notice to Quit. This is two months' written notice and a date they want you to leave by. In such instances, your landlord will not be required to give you any reason why they want you to leave their property.

Speak to the experts

With so many complexities and various requirements involved in the ending of a tenancy, it is important you seek expert legal advice to make sure you're able to represent yourself as best you can. Given the importance of such matters - we all want to feel secure and confident about where we're living and our immediate future - you should speak to the experts to make sure everything is sorted as correctly and quickly as possible.

Categories: General