How tenants can end a periodic tenancy

Find out how to end a periodic tenancy, such as one that rolls from month to month, by giving notice or surrendering the tenancy.

Periodic tenancies

A periodic tenancy is one that rolls from month to month or week to week and has no set end date.

You will have a periodic tenancy if your tenancy agreement:

  • doesn't contain a fixed end date
  • had an end date but you stayed after it passed and didn't agree to a further fixed term

Different rules apply if you have a fixed term tenancy and the fixed term hasn't expired. For example, if you're 7 months into a 12 month contract.

Writing your notice letter

You must give your landlord notice in writing to end a periodic tenancy. This is called a 'notice to quit'.

Your notice letter should include:

  • your name and address
  • your landlord's name and address
  • the date your notice period ends

You could also include a forwarding address for your landlord to return your tenancy deposit.

If you deliver the letter to your landlord by hand, ask for a receipt. If you post it, use recorded delivery so you can prove it arrived.

Don't send an email unless your contract says you can. Your notice won't be valid.

How much notice to give

You must give the correct date for when your notice period ends. Your notice letter won't be valid otherwise.

Check your tenancy agreement. If it sets out the amount of notice you must give your landlord, follow what your agreement says.

If your tenancy agreement doesn't set out a notice period, you must give your landlord at least:

  • 1 month's notice for a monthly tenancy
  • 4 weeks' notice for a weekly tenancy

Your notice must end on the first day or last day of your tenancy period. This is not always the date you pay your rent so check your agreement carefully.

Monthly tenancy end dates

If your tenancy started for example on 15 April:

  • the last day of your tenancy period will be 14th of the month
  • the first day of the next tenancy period will be 15th of the month

It's easier to calculate the final month's rent if you give notice to end on the last day of the tenancy period.

Weekly tenancy end dates

If your tenancy started for example on a Monday:

  • the last day of the tenancy period will be on a Sunday
  • the first day of the next tenancy period be the following Monday

Agree to surrender your tenancy

Your landlord may agree to accept a shorter notice period if you ask.

Ask your landlord to confirm the end date of your tenancy in writing.

Send your landlord a notice letter that includes the agreed leaving date.

Paying the final month's rent

You are responsible for paying the rent until your tenancy comes to an end.

Your landlord is entitled to make deductions from your deposit for any unpaid rent.

Your landlord could also take you to court if you withhold rent.

Leaving without giving notice

If you leave without giving notice, for example if you move and then put your keys through the letterbox, this is called abandonment.

Abandoning your tenancy doesn't end it. Your agreement with the landlord continues even though you've left.

The landlord can continue to charge you rent if you haven't ended your tenancy correctly.

Your landlord can hold you responsible for paying the rent until you end the tenancy properly or the property is re-let. Your landlord can apply for a court order to make you pay what you owe.

It could make it harder to find a new home if you leave without giving notice or paying the rent in full. Most private landlords ask to see references from previous landlords.

Ending a joint tenancy

You have a joint tenancy if there's more than one tenant's name on the tenancy agreement.

If you want to end a joint tenancy, any one of the joint tenants can give notice to the landlord. This will end the agreement for all the joint tenants.

You could ask the landlord if someone else can take your place. Your landlord could agree a new tenancy with the people who want to stay.

If one of you leaves without giving notice, the whole rent will still be due. If it's not paid, the landlord can deduct money from the tenancy deposit or take court action for the money to be paid.

Still need help?

Contact a Shelter adviser online or by phone.

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Last updated 14 Feb 2017 | © Shelter

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