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Ending a fixed term tenancy agreement

Ending a fixed term tenancy agreement
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If you are planning to move home but have a fixed tenancy agreement with your landlord you may find it tricky to get out of. The nature of a fixed tenancy agreement means that you can’t simply give notice and move out. Instead, your landlord can insist that you continue to pay rent on the property until the date the agreement is due to end. However, there are a few exceptions and some things to bear in mind if you’re looking to end an agreement early.

Break clause

Some fixed term tenancy agreements have a break clause written into them. This means you can end your agreement early but you must adhere to the procedures outlined in your tenancy agreement – for example, giving a set period of notice. If there is no break clause in your agreement then your landlord can demand you pay rent for the full period.

Periodic tenancy

Fixed term tenancies typically run for six months or a year. If you have been living in your property for longer than the tenancy agreement was for but no new fixed term agreement has been drawn up then you automatically become what is known as a periodic tenant. In terms of ending a tenancy agreement, this means you are free to leave whenever you wish as long as you give your landlord the required notice.

Negotiate

ending a fixed term tenancy agreementSome landlords may be willing to allow you to end a tenancy agreement early, particularly if you have ‘good reason’ and if the property is in a popular area meaning they will be able to find new tenants relatively easily. If you have prospective new tenants lined up then you may find your landlord more willing to let you out of the contract early as they won’t lose out on cash while the property is empty. Be aware that your landlord will probably require references for the new tenants and will have to agree to them taking over the property. Make sure that a new agreement is drawn up when you leave so that you don’t end up being responsible for the property after you’ve gone. However, landlords are not obliged to negotiate ending a fixed term tenancy agreement early so won’t always agree to it.

Abandonment

Some people think that if they leave the property, post the keys through the door and cancel their rent payments all will be fine. However, this is called ‘abandonment’ and is not fine at all. Even if you’re not living in the property you are still liable for the rent if your landlord does not agree to end the contract early. Landlords can apply for a court order to get the money from you and you risk losing a good reference for renting a home in the future. Many private landlords won’t let to people who have rent arrears or have abandoned properties in the past.

Agreements that are due to end

You can generally leave on the final day of a fixed term tenancy agreement without giving your landlord notice. However, if you stay on past that date your contract will become a periodic tenancy and you’ll have to give notice. If you’re unsure of whether you need to serve a notice period then check your contract or get in touch with the landlord to find out.

Joint tenancy

Tenants renting a property with other people, whether a partner or flatmates, need to get the approval of the other tenants as well as the landlord before they can end a tenancy agreement early.

 

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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