Ending a lease: What is the notice period for Rented Accommodation?

The duration of a rental is an uncertain issue for many tenants and a concern for all owners.

On the one hand, tenants are not always in a stable situation to set a long term rental in their lease, but on the other hand, landlords want to be sure of the time they will be receiving the rent and want to avoid a continuous search for tenants.

Therefore, it is important that both parties know the obligations that exist in case of wanting end a contract ahead of time. Here's what you need to know about the lease cancellation procedure in rented housing.

How to terminate the lease of a rental?

• Notice by Tenant

If you're a private tenant, you will most likely have a fixed term tenancy which is an agreement or contract usually set for a fixed term such as 6 or 12 months.

You can only end a tenancy agreement before the fixed term expires if:

-there's a break clause that lets you give notice early

-the landlord agrees you can leave ('surrendering the tenancy'.)

  1. Break Clause:
  2. Check your tenancy agreement to see if it has a break clause which allows you to end the tenancy before the end of the fixed term. Your tenancy agreement will tell you when the break clause applies (such as 6 months after the tenancy begins), how much notice you have to give and that you must give notice in writing.

  3. Surrendering your tenancy:
  4. Tenants needing to be released early from a fixed term contract can negotiate with their landlord but this is a matter for personal agreement between landlord and tenant. If they agree, you should get your landlord to confirm this in writing so you can prove it later on if there were any misunderstandings such as the landlord deducting money from the deposit for unpaid rent.

If your fixed term has ended and you haven't signed a new tenancy agreement, you will have a periodic tenancy. A periodic tenancy rolls from week to week or month to month, depending on what your contract says. If your tenancy agreement sets out the amount of notice you must give your landlord, follow that. If it doesn't set out a notice period, you must give your landlord at least 1 month's notice for a monthly tenancy and 4 weeks' notice for a weekly tenancy.

• Notice by Landlord

To end a fixed term tenancy the landlord must give at least two months’ notice under Section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act- the notice can be given at any time but cannot take effect for at least six months or until the original agreed fixed term has expired. Exceptions to this are if the landlord can prove a legal reason (or 'ground for possession') to evict the tenant, or if there is a 'break clause' in the tenancy agreement that allows this.

If the fixed term has expired, and it is now a periodic tenancy, the landlord can give notice at any time. The end date of the tenancy, however, must be either the first day or last day of your rental period, for example, if the rent day is the 20th of the month, the notice period must end on the 19th or 20th of the month in question.

For more information on this subject for both landlords and tenants, check out Shelter's page, which provides thorough information on a whole array of aspects of renting and notice periods.