Ending your tenancy
What do I need to know?
If you want to leave your rented home, it is important that you end your tenancy agreement correctly.
You usually have to give written notice to your landlord if you want to end your tenancy. The type and amount of notice you have to give depends on the type of agreement you have.
If you don’t end your agreement correctly you may still be have to pay rent, even after you’ve moved out.
Find Out More
Many private tenancies start with a fixed term, often 6 or 12 months.
Ending the agreement at the end of the fixed term
Your fixed term tenancy will usually end automatically if you leave on the last day of the fixed term.
Some contracts do say you have to give notice so always check your agreement.
It is usually a good idea to give your landlord notice anyway to stop future problems.
Ending the agreement before the fixed term ends
You can only end your agreement during the fixed term if:
- your contract contains a term that allows you to end it early (this is known as a ‘break clause’), or
- you agree an end to your contract with your landlord.
Always check your agreement to see what it says.
If you can’t do either of these things, your tenancy won’t end and you’ll still have to pay the rent to the end of the fixed term , even if you move out.
If your agreement rolls from week to week or month to month, you normally have to give at least four weeks’ notice to your landlord to end it, or a calendar month if you have a monthly tenancy.
The only exceptions to this are:
- if your landlord agrees to accept a shorter notice
- if you are an excluded occupier, in which case the amount of notice you have to give will depend on whether you have a tenancy or licence agreement
- if you pay rent less often than monthly (every three months, for example). If this is the case, you have to give notice equivalent to a rental period.
It is always best to give notice in writing and make sure that the notice ends on the first or last day of the period of a tenancy. For example, if your tenancy is monthly and started on the 5th of the month, the notice you give the landlord should end on the 4th or the 5th.
Click on our webchat and check with an adviser if you are not sure how much notice you should give.
You have a joint tenancy if yours and another person’s name are on the agreement.
If a joint tenant gives notice to the landlord, the agreement will normally automatically be ended for everyone. None of you will have the right to carry on living there.
If a joint tenant leaves without giving notice the other(s) will have to pay the missing person’s share.
If you’re thinking about leaving, be sure to talk about it with the other joint tenant(s) before you take any action. It may be possible for someone else to take your place, and/or for the landlord to give a new agreement to those who are staying.
It is possible for you to agree to end the tenancy early with your landlord. This is called ‘surrender’.
It is always best to put what’s been agreed in writing so everyone knows where they stand. If you have a joint tenancy all the joint tenants and the landlord must agree to the surrender.
It might be possible to get someone else to move in if you have to leave early and want to avoid paying rent on more than one home.
You must get the landlord’s agreement for the person you suggest to move into the property.
The landlord should give the new person their own tenancy or licence agreement – otherwise, you will still be legally responsible for the tenancy.
Walking away or posting the keys through the letterbox will not end your legal agreement with your landlord.
You can still be charged rent and your landlord can apply for a court order to make you pay what you owe.
It may also make it harder for you to find a new home because:
- your landlord is unlikely to give you a reference for another property
- you might not get your deposit back.