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 easy to achieve and can be done at any time throughout a tenancy. This ending of a tenancy agreement is usually known as ‘surrender’.

Both tenant and landlord should agree to end the tenancy in writing 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 adequately. If 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 unlawful eviction.

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

Surrender by using ‘Operation of the Law’

Operation of the Law is a tenancy surrender, in which a tenant surrenders the process of the rented property to his landlord, and after that, the landlord accepts the process. This act may include the tenant’s return of the property’s keys to the landlord, and the landlord takes that the tenancy agreement is entirely over and that the landlord now has possession.

Surrender by using the Declaration of Surrender

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

How to end a fixed-term tenancy

A fixed-term tenancy is a tenancy that is applicable for a fixed period; both parties in the tenancy agreement agree upon the period. This type of agreement usually has a starting date and an ending date of tenancy, which are fixed dates.

Several 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 the fixed term. If a break clause exists in the agreement, the tenant can easily give written or verbal notice to end a tenancy. However, they must follow all the procedures mentioned in the tenancy agreements, for instance, the nature of notice they must give to their landlord.

If the agreement has no break clause, the tenant cannot quickly end the tenancy on his side; he has to get an agreement from his landlord. Suppose the tenants make any move to vacate early or before the ending date, and without reaching an agreement from their landlord. In that case, the tenants can be easily liable for continuing to pay rent until the end of the fixed tenancy period.

A tenant has all the rights to give possession of the property on the last date of the fixed period without any notice. On the other hand, if the tenant doesn’t leave the property even after the end date of the 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.

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

How to End a Periodic Tenancy Agreement

After the ending date of a fixed-term tenancy agreement, if no new contract 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 to the new agreement, but the only exception is that this new contract will be based on a month-to-month approach or even on a week-to-week approach in some cases. It depends on the tenant and how often he plans to pay the rent. If the landlord collects rent every month, the contract will be considered a month-by-month contract.

The landlord has the right to end a tenancy depending on the rental period in a periodic tenancy. As in the above case, if a tenant pays the rent every month, the landlord needs to serve a one-month notice to his tenant. The notice must be given in writing and contain the starting and ending date of the 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 must issue a valid notice to the landlord to end his periodic tenancy. To complete their agreement, the tenant must provide a rental period to his landlord. Once this notice, given to the landlord, expires, the tenant’s agreement will automatically end.

How to end a tenancy agreement early

If the landlord needs to end his tenancy agreement early before the ending date in the agreement, but if the tenant refuses to do so, the landlord has no right to regain possession legally and earlier. Still, he can give his tenant a Section 21 – Notice of Possession at least two months before the ending date of the fixed term so that the tenants can be notified 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 the fixed period. To achieve this purpose, the landlord must give a section 8 notice to his tenant, which is a notification to quit. This notice informs the tenants that the landlord seeks the possession and also states the grounds for the possession. The landlord can regain possession without a legally valid notice.

In most cases, the tenants automatically leave the property once a Section 8 notice has been served. If this is the case, the landlords don’t have to apply in court to gain possession.

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

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

Suppose your tenants refuse to leave the property even after a fixed-term tenancy ends. In that case, the landlord must give his tenant a section 21 (Notification of Possession), providing them a minimum two-month notice period. However, if your tenant refuses to leave the property again after this new notice expires, the landlord must apply for possession in court.


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