Ending a fixed-term contract

There are special rules on how you can end your tenancy if it’s for a fixed period (such as six months or one year), which has not yet ended. Your tenancy could be fixed term, even if you pay the rent each week/month (It’s important you know if you’re in a fixed-term agreement).


Can I give the landlord notice and if so, how much?

Many fixed-term agreements (including some assured shorthold tenancies with private landlords) contain a break clause, which allows you to end the agreement before the end of the fixed term. Check your agreement to see if it includes a clause like this. If your agreement does include a break clause then it should also say how much notice is required; if it doesn’t include the break clause, then you cannot end the tenancy early unless the landlord agrees.


Can I get someone else to move in?

This may be possible if you have no choice but to leave early, and want to avoid paying rent on more than one home. However, you have to get the landlord’s agreement for the individual to move into the property. The landlord may want to take up references for them. The landlord should give the new individual their own tenancy agreement – otherwise, you will still be legally responsible for the tenancy.


What if my landlord agrees that I can leave?

It is possible to get out of the agreement at any time if you can come to a mutual agreement. This is called ‘surrender’. To be valid both sides must agree, and is best if the agreement is put in writing to ensure no confusion later on. If you have a joint tenancy, all the joint tenants and the landlord must agree to the surrender.


What happens when my agreement runs out?

If your agreement is for a fixed term (e.g. six months), you can leave on the last day of the fixed-term without given notice, but you must ensure you do not stay even one day over, or you will automatically become a periodic tenant and have to give proper notice. Good communication helps things go smoothly, so although you do not have to it is still good to let the landlord know when you move out.