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A Tenant's Guide to Ending a Tenancy Agreement

Jun 19, 2024

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Tenancies can end for various reasons, and as a tenant, it's essential to know how to navigate this process smoothly. This guide provides clear information on how to end your tenancy agreement, the notice period required, and how to plan your move.

Understanding Your Tenancy Type

Before you proceed with ending your tenancy, it's important to know what type of tenancy you have. There are two main types: fixed-term and periodic.

Fixed-Term Tenancy: This type of tenancy runs for a specific period, usually six months to a year. After this period, it can become periodic if neither party takes action.

Periodic Tenancy: Also known as a rolling contract, this type runs on a week-to-week or month-to-month basis.

Knowing your tenancy type will help you understand the notice period required to end your tenancy.

Notice Periods for Ending Your Tenancy

Fixed-Term Tenancy with a Break Clause: If your agreement includes a break clause, you can end your tenancy early. Check the agreement for details on when the break clause applies and any conditions that must be met.

For example, if your tenancy runs from November to November, your break clause might allow you to end the tenancy after six months with one month's notice. This means you can move out in April by giving notice in March. Be sure to check for conditions such as no rent arrears.

Fixed-Term Tenancy without a Break Clause: If there is no break clause, you cannot end your tenancy early without the landlord's permission. You don't need to give notice to leave on the last day of the fixed term unless specified in your agreement.

Periodic Tenancy if You Live with Your Landlord: You can agree with your landlord on a move-out date or give notice as specified in your tenancy agreement. There's no set notice period, so it's whatever works for both parties.

Periodic Tenancy if You Don’t Live with Your Landlord: You can end your tenancy at any time by giving the appropriate notice. Typically, this is four weeks' notice for week-to-week tenancies and one month's notice for month-to-month tenancies. If your rental period is longer, you must give notice equivalent to that period.

Remember, you must pay rent until the end of your notice period.

How to Give Notice to Your Landlord

Once you know how much notice is required, make sure you provide it correctly.

Ending Your Tenancy Due to Landlord Issues: If you're ending your tenancy because of issues with your landlord, such as failure to make repairs or breaches of contract, it's important to address these issues legally rather than just moving out. Both landlords and tenants have rights and responsibilities, so make sure you understand them to take appropriate action.

Timing Your Notice: Your notice must end on the first or last day of your tenancy period. For instance, if your tenancy runs from the 5th of each month to the 4th of the next, your notice should end on the 4th or 5th of the month.

Ending a Joint Tenancy

Joint tenancies can be more complicated to end. All joint tenants must agree to end a fixed-term tenancy early. You can use a break clause to give notice or negotiate with the landlord.

If some tenants want to stay, you might consider finding a replacement tenant. However, this requires agreement from the landlord and all remaining tenants, and a new joint tenancy agreement will be needed.

Writing an End of Tenancy Letter

Your end of tenancy letter should be clear and can be sent via email. Keep a dated copy for your records. Here’s an example of what to include:

“Dear [Landlord’s Name/Company Name], I am giving [notice period] to end my tenancy as required by law. I will be leaving the property on [date]. I would like you to be at the property on the move-out day to check the premises and return the keys. I also request the return of my tenancy deposit of [amount].”

You might also need to include details of any furnishings you’re leaving behind or any repairs made during your tenancy.

Getting Your Landlord’s Agreement to Leave Early

If you need to leave a fixed-term tenancy early and there's no break clause, you can discuss this with your landlord. They may agree to end the tenancy early, but they are not obligated to do so. If you leave without an agreement, you might still be liable for rent and bills until the tenancy ends.

If you're uncomfortable speaking with your landlord directly, you can contact the company managing your contract or seek advice from Citizens Advice.

Leaving Without Giving Notice

Leaving without notice is not advisable. It doesn't automatically end your tenancy, and you will still owe rent until it officially ends. Additionally, you might be responsible for other bills, and your landlord can seek a court order to recover the owed rent plus court costs. You also risk losing your deposit, which could be crucial for securing your next home.

Leaving at the End of Your Fixed Term

You don't need to give notice to leave on the last day of your fixed term unless specified in your tenancy agreement. However, informing your landlord of your plans can facilitate a smoother transition, prompt return of your deposit, and possibly a good reference for future rentals.

Preparing to Move Out

Moving can be stressful, so it's essential to prepare thoroughly. Ensure the property is clean, return any furniture that came with the rental, pay all outstanding bills, and redirect your mail. A moving-out checklist can help you cover everything before you leave.

Looking for a New Rental Property?

If you’re planning to move and need a new place to rent, Howards can assist you. Our estate agents use their local knowledge to help you find a property that fits your budget and needs. Check out our renting process, and feel free to ask us about tenant rights and expectations under your tenancy agreement.


Ending a tenancy agreement involves several steps, but with the right knowledge and preparation, it can be a straightforward process. Always check your tenancy agreement for specific terms related to notice periods and break clauses. Communicate clearly with your landlord and keep records of all correspondence. Understanding your rights and responsibilities as a tenant will help ensure a smooth transition to your next home.

By following these guidelines, you can confidently end your tenancy agreement and move on to your next adventure. If you need further assistance or have any questions, the team at Howards is here to help.