How to End a Tenancy Agreement?

If both tenant and landlord agree upon ending the tenancy agreement

If both parties agree upon ending a tenancy agreement, it is quite easy to achieve, and can be done any time throughout a tenancy. This type of ending a tenancy agreement is usually known as ‘surrender’.

Both tenant and landlord should agree to end the tenancy in written so that it can clarify all the agreed upon terms and conditions. In case of a joint tenancy, all the involved tenants of the property must agree to end the tenancy for surrender.

If a tenant legally surrenders a tenancy, the landlord has all the rights to take possession of his property according to Section 5 mentioned in the Housing Act 1988.

The landlord has the responsibility to make sure that the agreement should end properly. In case, the landlord claims possession of his property even if the tenants have not agreed to end the tenancy, the landlord can be easily accused of eviction by unlawful means.

There are various ways in which tenant can surrender a tenancy. First one is, by following ‘operation of the law’ and the second one is, by using a ‘declaration of surrender’.

Surrender by using ‘Operation of the Law’

Operation of the Law is to a tenancy surrender, in which a tenant simply surrenders the procession of the rented property to his landlord, and thereafter landlord accepts the procession. This act may include return of property’s keys to the landlord by the tenant, and the landlord accepts that the tenancy agreement is completely over, and that landlord now has the possession.

Surrender by using Declaration of Surrender

Operation of the Law is to tenancy surrender, in which tenant gives a written document to his landlord. This written document acts a proof of tenancy surrender by the tenant to the landlord. The document is referred to as ‘Declaration of Surrender’. In this type of tenancy surrender, the landlord must accept this surrender so that tenancy can end successfully.

How to end a fixed term tenancy

A fixed term tenancy is a tenancy that is applicable for a fixed time period; the time period is agreed upon by both parties in the tenancy agreement. In this type of agreement; there is normally a starting date and an ending date of tenancy, which are essentially the fixed dates in the tenancy agreement.

A number of agreements on fixed term tenancy consist of a ‘break clause’. This break clause permits all the tenants to end their tenancy agreement anytime before the actual ending date of fixed term. If break clause exists in the agreement, the tenant can easily give written, or verbal notice to end a tenancy, however, they have to follow all the procedures mentioned in the tenancy agreements, for instance, the nature of notice they must give to their landlord.

In case the agreement has no break clause, the tenant cannot easily end the tenancy on his side; he has to take agreement from his landlord. In case the tenants make any move to vacate early, or before the ending date, and without getting an agreement from his landlord, the tenants can be easily made liable for continue to pay rent till the end of fixed tenancy period.

A tenant has all the rights to give possession of the property on the last date of fixed period without any notice. On the other hand, if the tenant doesn’t leave the property even after the end date of fixed term, this tenancy will become a ‘periodic tenancy’ automatically, and tenants will have to give clear and proper notification to avoid this unless the landowner agrees that they can leave.

In case the landlords want to end the agreement, which is usually for six months or one year, or any time period of fixed term tenancy, the landlord must give a Section 21 – Notice of Possession to his tenants, usually, at least two months prior to the ending date of fixed term.

How to End a periodic tenancy agreement

After the ending date of a fixed term tenancy agreement, if there is no new contract that has been prepared or signed, the tenancy automatically becomes a periodic one. All terms and conditions mentioned in the earlier tenancy agreements will still apply on the new agreement, but the only exception is that this new contract will be based on month-to-month approach, or even on week-to-week approach in some cases. It actually depends on the tenant, and how often he plans to pay the rent. If landlord collects rent every month, then the contract will be considered as month-by-month contact.

The landlord has the right to end a tenancy depending on rental period in a periodic tenancy. As in the above case, if a tenant pays the rent every month, then the landlord just needs to serve a one month notice to his tenant. The notice must be given in writing, and it must contain the starting and ending date of periodic tenancy agreement, unless it has been mentioned in the tenancy agreement that the tenancy can be ended on any different date.

On the other hand, a tenant can also decide to end his periodic tenancy agreement. He just needs to issue a valid notice to the landlord to end his periodic tenancy.  In order to end their agreement, the tenant must provide a rental period to his landlord. Once this notice, given to the landlord, expires, the agreement of tenant will automatically end.

How to end a tenancy agreement early

In case the landlord needs to end his tenancy agreement early before the ending date in agreement, but if the tenant refuses to do so, the landlord has no right to regain possession legally and early, but he can give a Section 21 – Notice of Possession to his tenant before at least two months of the ending date of fixed term, so that the tenants can have the notification regarding the exact date to leave.

However, if a tenant breaches any clause in the agreement, the landlord can end the tenancy even before the end date of fixed period. To achieve the purpose, the landlord must give a section 8 notice to his tenant, which is essentially a notification to quit. This notice informs the tenants that the landlord seeks the possession, and it also states the grounds for the possession. Landlord can regain the possession without a legally valid notice.

In most of the cases, the tenants automatically leave the property once a section 8 notice has been served to them. If this is the case, the landlords don’t have to apply at courts for gaining possession.

However, if the tenants refuse to leave the property even after landlord serve them the section 8 notice, and even after it expires, the landlord can apply at a court to seek possession of his property. In case, the landlord has the right to gain possession, the time period for obtaining possession will be decided by the court. This decision is normally dependent on various circumstances.

What’s the procedure to if your tenants refuse to leave the property?

If your tenants refuse to leave the property even after a fixed term tenancy ends, the landlord will need to give his tenant a section 21 (Notification of Possession), providing them a minimum two months notice period. However, if your tenant again refuses to leave the property after this new notice expires, the landlord will be required to submit an application for possession in the court.