Your tenancy is a legal agreement. To end it you have to give the correct notice to your landlord.
How much notice is required and in what format you need to provide this, depends on the type of agreement in place, and whether this is a fixed term or periodic tenancy.
A fixed term tenancy is usually for a set period of six months or more. After this term has expired your landlord may offer you a new fixed term agreement.
If, however, no fixed term has been set or you’ve remained in the property past a previously determined date and without a new term being agreed, you have a periodic tenancy. This type of tenancy runs from month to month or week to week and has no set end date.
Below you’ll find a simple guide to giving notice on your tenancy depending on whether it’s a fixed term or periodic agreement. You’ll also find links to further templates and checklists to help you make this a smooth process.
Giving notice on a fixed term tenancy
If you choose to leave the property before the fixed term ends you first need to check if your tenancy agreement allows you to do this through what’s known as a “break clause”.
Break clauses are normally in place for fixed terms of two or more years and take into account that a person’s circumstances can change. It enables a tenant to end their tenancy without their landlord’s permission, providing they do this in the manner stated in the agreement.
Your tenancy agreement will tell you:
• If a break clause is in place and when it applies (normally six months after the tenancy starts)
• How much notice you have to give (usually between one and three months)
• What format you need to give this notice. This always needs to be in writing. Some landlords will accept the written notice via email but always check this is stated in the agreement
Alternatively use our end of tenancy notice generator and we will confirm with the landlord that your notice has been correctly served and accepted via email. We'll also provide a completed PDF letter for you to deliver physically if required.
If email is not accepted by your landlord deliver your letter by hand and ask for a receipt or post it using recorded delivery.
Surrendering your tenancy
If there is no break clause in your agreement you can surrender your tenancy but only if your landlord agrees.
Contact your landlord through your agreed channels to explain the situation and that you wish to “surrender your tenancy”. Get your landlord to confirm their agreement to this in writing. This is important as it will help to avoid misunderstandings and problems later.
For example, your landlord can deduct money for unpaid rent from your tenancy deposit. You must be able to prove you have given formal notice and show when your tenancy ended otherwise it could be considered as “abandonment”.
In this situation your landlord can deduct money from your tenancy deposit for unpaid rent or apply for a court order to make you pay any outstanding rent. Abandonment of a tenancy or rent arrears will also make it harder for you to find a new home.
It is not abandonment if you have your landlord’s written agreement that you can end your tenancy early.
Giving notice to leave at the end of the fixed term
You need to check your tenancy agreement to see if it states notice must be given if you wish to leave at the end of the fixed term. You need to give notice if your agreement states that you must inform your landlord if you wish to leave on the last day. It should also say how much notice is required.
If you remain in the property beyond the fixed agreement without a new term being arranged your tenancy will continue as a periodic tenancy.
Ending a joint tenancy
If there is more than one person named in the tenancy agreement you have a joint tenancy. The break clause and surrendering your tenancy process can still be applied to end the fixed term early providing all named tenants agree and give the required notice as stated in the tenancy agreement.
After the fixed term has expired, just one of the joint tenants needs to give notice to end the joint tenancy. This then ends the tenancy for all the named tenants.
Ending a joint tenancy when a relationship has broken down
If your relationship has broken down and you’re in a joint tenancy you should seek further advice about your housing rights from Citizens Advice.
Giving notice on a periodic tenancy
You have a periodic tenancy if your agreement doesn’t contain a fixed end date or you’ve stayed past a previously agreed term and no new fixed term has been set.
A periodic tenancy either rolls from mouth to month or week to week and usually in line with your rent payments being paid weekly or monthly.
Under this type of agreement you’re still required to give your landlord written notice to end your periodic tenancy. This is called a “notice to quit”.
First check your tenancy agreement to see if it states how much notice you should give. If it doesn’t state this you must give your landlord at least:
• One months’ notice for a monthly tenancy
• Four weeks’ notice for a weekly tenancy
You can choose to set the tenancy end date as either the first or last day of your rental period (monthly/weekly).
If your tenancy started on 15 March:
• The last day of your rental period will be 14th of the month
• The first day of your next rental period will be 15th of the month
If your tenancy started for example on a Monday:
• The last day of rental period will be on a Sunday
• The first day of the next rental period be the following Monday
Surrendering your tenancy
You may be able to leave earlier if you ask your landlord to agree to this and you surrender your tenancy.
In this instance you need to ask your landlord to confirm your tenancy end date in writing and then send a notice that includes this agreed leaving date.
Your notice to quit letter
Your letter should include:
• Your name and address
• Your landlord’s name and address
• The date your notice period ends
• A forwarding address for your landlord to return your tenancy deposit
Check your tenancy agreement to see if email is accepted for issuing this notice, if not, deliver your letter by hand and ask for a receipt or post it using recorded delivery.
Alternatively, use our end of tenancy notice generator and we will validate with your landlord that your notice has been correctly served and accepted via email.
You must always give written notice to end your tenancy otherwise it is considered abandonment and your landlord can apply for a court order for outstanding rent. It will also make it harder for you to find a new home as most landlords will seek references before offering you a tenancy agreement.
Ending a joint tenancy
If there is more than one person named in the tenancy agreement you have a joint tenancy.
Under a periodic tenancy, any one of the named tenants can give notice to the landlord and this will end the agreement for all the joint tenants.
If you wish to stay in the property or give your part to someone else you can ask your landlord to agree to this. Your landlord could also agree a new tenancy with the remaining people who wish to stay.
If one tenant leaves without giving notice, the whole rent is still due. It this is not paid, the landlord can deduct money from the overall tenancy deposit or take court action for the money to be paid.