A landlord can end a tenancy at the end of a fixed term

A landlord can end a tenancy at the end of the fixed term (usually 6 months) provided that the tenant has been given two months written notice in the form of a section 21 notice to quit. It may be possible for a landlord to end a fixed tenancy early if certain grounds have been met. For further information see Ending a tenancy agreement early.

  • If the agreement is periodic (rolling from week to week or month to month), a tenant will normally have to give at least four weeks’ notice to end it, or a calendar month if it is a monthly tenancy. The notice must be in writing and must end on the first or last day of the tenancy, unless the tenancy agreement allows it to be ended on a different day. If rent is paid less frequently a tenant has to give at least one rental period of notice. So if rent is paid every two months, two months notice would be required. A tenant may choose to end a periodic tenancy by issuing a valid notice to quit to the landlord. Once the notice expires then the tenant’s agreement will have ended.

  • A landlord can only end a tenancy before the fixed term is up if the tenant has breached the tenancy agreement. If this has happened then the landlord must make an application to a court for possession. Before applying for possession a landlord will need to serve a section 8 notice to quit on the tenant as this will form part of the evidence that the court will insist on seeing before granting a possession order. A section 8 notice states that the landlord intends to seek possession of the property and also states the ground or grounds on which possession is sought. Without a valid notice a landlord will not get possession.

    The amount of notice required to be given to the tenant will depend on the grounds under which possession is sought. For further information on this topic see the page on issuing a section 8 notice.

  • If the tenants refuse to leave at the end of a fixed term tenancy then a landlord will need to make an application to a court for possession. Before applying to the court for possession a landlord must first serve a section 21 notice to quit on the tenants giving them a minimum of two months’ notice.

  • Walking away or posting the keys through the letterbox is called ‘abandonment’ and will not end a tenancy agreement. The agreement will continue even though the tenants have left and the landlord has the right to continue to charge rent. A landlord can apply for a court order to make tenants pay what is owed. It should be noted that if the property has since been let out rent can only be claimed for the period of time before a new tenant has moved in. The period of time that rent can be charged after a tenant leaves depends on the type of agreement

  • In a fixed term agreement rent can continue to be charged up until when the term ends.

  • If the agreement is periodic, rent can be charged up until the time when the agreement would have ended had the tenant given the agreed period of notice.