Ending your tenancy
These pages provide general guidance for students renting a house, flat or room from a private landlord, including renting a room in private halls of residence or in ‘purpose-built student accommodation’. Generally, students renting these kinds of accommodation have fixed-term tenancies and an agreement to pay rent until the tenancy ends.
These pages provide guidance on:
- The limited circumstances in which you can bring a tenancy to an end before the fixed-term expires;
- leaving accommodation at the end of any agreed fixed-term;
- How a tenant can bring a periodic tenancy to an end.
Explainer: ‘fixed-term’ and ‘periodic’ tenancies
A fixed-term tenancy is a contract for rented accommodation with an agreed start and end date. Most student tenants in Loughborough have fixed-term tenancies; these are typically for 12 months but they can be longer or shorter. When a fixed-term ends the tenant(s) normally leave the accommodation and the tenancy comes to an end, but they are not legally required to leave.
A periodic tenancy arises if tenants continue to live in the accommodation after a fixed-term expires. This is a rolling tenancy that automatically renews itself each week, month or quarter. A tenant can end a periodic tenancy by serving notice and leaving the accommodation. A landlord can service notice and, if the tenant does not leave the accommodation, can seek to end the tenancy by regaining possession through the courts.
If you want to leave before the fixed-term ends
In most cases, once if you have signed a fixed term contract, you and any joint tenants are liable for to pay rent until the end of the agreed fixed-term. Your right to end your tenancy early is limited. You may, however, be able to end your tenancy and your liability for rent in one of the following circumstances:
Your landlord agrees to release you
The landlord might agree to terminate your contract if they sympathise with your reasons for wanting to leave, or if they are confident of finding a replacement. They may also be willing to release you if you pay an agreed sum of money and/or give up your deposit. It is advisable for any agreement of this kind to be confirmed in writing. The Student Advice and Support Service has a ‘Deed of surrender’ form that can be used for this purpose.
You find a replacement
Your landlord may agree to release you if there is a suitable replacement tenant. If you have a joint tenancy you will need the consent of the other joint tenants and the landlord to end the contract. The landlord, the other joint tenants and any replacement tenant(s) can then create a new tenancy or tenancies.
It is advisable for the landlord and tenant(s) to formalise any agreement to terminate a tenancy contract. The Student Advice and Support Service has a ‘Deed of surrender’ form that can be used for this purpose, contact the Student Advice and Support Service for more advice on this.
Your contract contains a break clause
If your fixed-term contract includes a ‘break clause’ you can terminate the tenancy by giving the required period of notice. Generally, it is rare to find a break clause in a fixed-term contract as landlords and their agents prefer not to offer such flexibility to their tenants. If there is a break clause you would need the consent of any joint tenants to serve notice during a fixed-term.
Your landlord or agent gave you misleading information
You may be able to cancel your tenancy contract within 90 days of the tenancy start if your landlord or agent engaged in ‘unfair practices’, including providing misleading information, and this was a significant factor in your decision to agree the tenancy. Shelter provides useful guidance, and as it is a complex legal area we recommend you take advice if you were misled.
Your landlord commits a fundamental breach of contract
A fundamental or repudiatory breach of contract is one that is so serious the tenant has the option to bring the contract to an end, rather than merely claim compensation for any financial loss. A landlord’s failure to respond to serious disrepair (e.g., a collapsed ceiling) can amount to a repudiation of contract allowing the tenant to terminate the tenancy, though the bar is set high and this is a complex legal area requiring specialist advice.
Leaving at the end of the fixed-term
If you are planning to move out at the end of the fixed-term you should check your contract to see if you must give any formal notice to end your tenancy. If there’s no such obligation, you can simply move out at the end of your the fixed-term.
If you need to give notice, you should follow the procedure outlined in your contract. If you stay beyond the end of the fixed term, even for a day, your tenancy will automatically convert into a periodic tenancy (see the ‘Explainer’ above). This means that your tenancy and your liability for rent will continue, and you will need to give notice to end your tenancy – see ‘Ending a periodic tenancy’ below.
Ending a periodic tenancy
Usually, but not always, the length of the periodic tenancy, i.e. whether it is weekly, monthly or quarterly is determined by the gap between rent payments in the fixed-term contract.
If you have a periodic tenancy you can bring it to an end by serving notice. The required period of notice depends on the length of the rental period. If your periodic tenancy runs from week to week you will need to give 4 weeks’ notice. If your periodic tenancy runs from month to month you need to give a month’s notice and if it runs from quarter to quarter you need to give a quarter’s notice, i.e. 3 months.
Valid notice does not have to be in writing, but it is advisable to write a letter or send an email. Any notice you give must end of the first or last day of the rent period.
How can the University Support you?
Please always use the University webpages as a first point of reference. If you require more guidance or information that is not covered in the webpages contact the Student Advice and Support Services.
Last Updated: 28th September 2023