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Can I End My Tenancy Early?

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Whatever the reason there may come a time during your rental term when you might find yourself wondering, ‘Can I end my tenancy early’? If you find yourself in this situation before taking any action, read our guide on things to do and consider.

Reasons to end a tenancy early

There are many reasons why you might need to end your tenancy early. Whether it’s to relocate for work, starting a family, a relationship ending or a new one forming. Or needing more space, to name but a few.

Ending a tenancy early

First things first, check your tenancy agreement. Here outlines your tenancy obligations, signed before your move. It should cover any break clauses, notice periods and how to serve notice on your tenancy.

Check the break clause

Break clauses in tenancy agreements provide both you and the landlord with a degree of flexibility. Giving you both an opportunity to exit the agreement, after a designed time period.

While in most cases a break clause is mutual. Meaning both parties can serve notice of leave, in some cases they can be landlord only or tenant only. In this instance, only the named party can exercise the break clause.

How much notice to give

Your tenancy agreement not only outlines how much rent to pay but should also cover in some shape or form:

  • The start and end date of your tenancy.
  • Can you end it early and under what circumstances? Is there a notice period required?
  • Are you entitled to sub-let the property or rent out a room to cover costs while you’re away?

The wording of clauses varies with the type of tenancy agreement you have. However, your tenancy agreement should outline these details.

To end your tenancy earlier than stated you should probably be prepared to negotiate with your landlord or their letting agent.

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Negotiate a surrender of tenancy

It’s always best to be open and honest about your situation. And propose solutions to end the agreement on amenable terms.

For whatever reason if you can’t stick to your break clause you can ask to negotiate to surrender your tenancy. This can apply whether you have a fixed or periodic tenancy agreement.

Negotiating a surrender requires you and your landlord to reach an agreement. Once agreed, you normally outline the terms in a ‘deed of surrender.’ Which both you and your landlord should sign in agreement.

Two ways a landlord might agree to end a tenancy early:

1. You find a new tenant to replace you and then pay a fixed cost to cover the new tenancy agreement.

2. You commit to continuing payment of certain costs until finding a new tenant.

This might include rent and utility bills. You might even offer to forfeit your security deposit. Whatever you agree you should be aware that your landlord (or their letting agent) is obliged to adhere to the tenant fee ban outlined by the Tenant Fees Act 2019. When considering what they can accept as part of an ‘early exit’.

Obligations to pay rent when ending tenancy early

Unless agreed otherwise your landlord has the right to hold you responsible for rent payments due over the entirety of that period as outlined on your tenancy agreement.

This will mean you may need to pay the rent covering the full fixed term even after moving out early. Unless the property can be relet more quickly, or you come to an agreement with your landlord.

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Last Updated: January 30th, 2024

Phil Spencer

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