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How to terminate your rental agreement

23 September 2013 Caspar Read time: 2 min
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How to terminate your rental agreement

It’s essential that you end a tenancy agreement correctly (even if it’s a short hold tenancy agreement) because you don’t want to risk being held responsible for paying the rent once you’ve moved out.

Rules on ending tenancy agreements vary depending on whether your agreement fixed term or short term (periodic), which can be month-to-month or week-to-week. Also, it can depend if you have a single or joint tenancy.

Your original contract should stipulate how much notice you need to give before ending a fixed term tenancy. If you want to leave the property before the length the notice requires, you will be liable to keep paying the rent until the contract ends. The landlord will be under no obligation to negotiate to allow you to cease payments.

There may be an exception to this if you have a ‘break clause’ in your contract. This clause can allow either side to end the contract early. Consult your original contract or ask for a copy from your landlord.

Month-to-month or short hold tenancies also usually involve giving a period of notice. This applies if you’re short term contact has run out and you’re still living in the property. You may be able to give less notice under certain exceptions, for example if you find someone to take your place and your landlord agrees.

Information you need to put in your letter:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • The date you send the letter
  • The date that you will be leaving the property
  • The address you can be contacted at once you’ve left the property

Try and deliver the letter by hand or send it by recorded delivery and ask for a receipt in order to make sure it’s received in good time.

Unless your original tenancy agreement says that it’s ok, never submit a letter to end your tenancy agreement by e-mail.

Do's and Don’ts

Don’t just leave the property without terminating your agreement officially, even if your fixed term has expired as you could still end up being liable for rent payments, end up in rent arrears and get taken to court. Also, if you need a reference for your new landlord you may find it hard to get a favourable one from your last residence. Always remember to leave the property clean too.

Shared tenancy agreements

Shared tenancy agreements are different because you have a joint responsibility with the other people on the agreement to fulfil the contract. You are all collectively responsible for the property. If one person writes a valid letter to terminate the agreement then the contact for the whole property will end and everyone could potentially have to leave.

If the property is damaged in any way then everyone on the joint agreement is liable to have money removed from their deposits to fix the damage, even if the damage was caused by one individual (unless renters come to their own agreement about this). Also, if one person moves out without warning the other parties are liable to pay the missing person’s rent.

Joint tenancy agreements are common with student lets, where it’s common for groups of individuals to share a property for a fixed agreed amount of time.


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