This page is targeted at housing professionals. Our main site is at

Ending a protected shorthold tenancy

This content applies to England

This page looks at how a protected shorthold tenancy can be ended.

Tenant giving notice to end the tenancy

A protected shorthold tenant is able to terminate the tenancy at any time, even during the fixed term, by giving the landlord written notice.[1] The notice must be one month if the term is two years or less, or three months if the term is over two years. The tenant's right to give notice cannot be overwritten by any term of the tenancy.

Notice to quit and court proceedings by landlord

To bring a protected shorthold tenancy to an end the landlord must give the tenant at least three months' written notice during the last three months of the fixed term, or if the fixed term has already expired, during the same three months of any subsequent year. The notice must state that the landlord intends to commence court proceedings under Case 19 in Schedule 15 of the Rent Act 1977.[2] The landlord must then commence court proceedings during the three months following the expiry of the notice. If these conditions are complied with the landlord has an automatic ground for possession.

Although no new protected shorthold tenancies can be created since 15 January 1989, there are such tenancies in existence, which will continue indefinitely unless the landlord serves notice during the three-month 'window' each year, or the tenancy ceases to be a protected shorthold tenancy (see below).

Tenancy ceasing to be protected shorthold

If a protected shorthold tenant enters into a new tenancy with his/her landlord on or after 15 January 1989, it will automatically change the protected shorthold into an assured shorthold tenancy unless the landlord serves a notice on the tenant that it will not be a shorthold tenancy.[3] A change in the terms of the tenancy such as an increase in the rent will not usually be sufficient to create a new tenancy.

The landlord and the tenant may agree to vary the tenancy. Prior to 15 January 1989 an agreement could have been reached that the letting arrangement should become a protected tenancy or after that date an assured tenancy.

[1] s.53(1) Housing Act 1980.

[2] s.55(1) Housing Act 1980.

[3] s.34(3) Housing Act 1988.

Back to top