Good organisation when it comes to the end of your tenancy is key. Read this article if your tenancy may be ending soon as it covers where to check the end date, how to hand your notice in, how to extend your tenancy (if applicable) and how to approach the moving out process.
Type of tenancy
The starting point for checking any tenancy-related details is your tenancy agreement.
When checking your tenancy agreement, pay attention to the type of the tenancy you have as the end date in the agreement varies depending on the type. The vast majority of tenancies in England are assured shorthold tenancies (“ASTs''). If you’re not sure what it means, check our article here for a detailed explanation.
If you have an AST, your end date depends on whether you have a fixed-term tenancy or a periodic tenancy.
Having a fixed-term tenancy means that your end date is specified in the agreement and you must move out on or before that date. Your contract must expressly state the date the agreement ends. An example clause could be worded like this:
‘The term of the Tenancy is for a fixed period of 12 months and commences at 12 noon on 1st July 2023 and ends at 12 noon on 30th June 2024.’
So in the above example, the tenants have the right to occupy the property from 12pm on 1st July 2023 until 12pm 30th June 2024 when at the latest, the property must be made vacant and the keys must be returned to the landlord or the letting agent.
Note: fixed-term tenancies are unlikely to contain a break clause (i.e. a clause which allows the tenants to terminate the tenancy earlier than before the lapse of the fixed period).
If you want to stay
If you want to stay in a fixed-term tenancy, it is best to enquire with the landlord regarding their process for securing new tenants. When the landlord will start looking for new tenants will depend on the market in the given area, to ensure that the property is rented continuously and one fixed-term tenancy follows the next without gaps.
Usually, the landlord or their agent will first ask the current tenants whether they would be happy to stay in the property for another fixed term. To follow from the example above, If the current tenants agree, they will have to sign a new tenancy agreement with updated terms. So the existing tenancy agreement will end at 12 pm on 30th June 2024 and the new one will start immediately, i.e. 12 pm on 30th June 2024.
However, note that since it is a completely new tenancy agreement, the rent may increase in line with the current market rates, which are up to the landlord. There is some scope for negotiation though — since the current tenants would be staying for another fixed-term period, they could negotiate with the landlord to keep the current rent or if not possible, to lower the increase. If you’re unsure how to negotiate your rent, contact Repit and we will sort that out for you!
Note: sometimes it is not possible to enter a new fixed-term tenancy for the property as the landlord might be planning to renovate, sell or change the use from residential. However, if you liked staying in the property and are happy with the service the landlord and their agents provide, you could inquire about another property from their portfolio and then try and negotiate favourable terms.
If you want to go
If you want to move out of the fixed-term tenancy at the end of the term, there is no contractual requirement to notify the landlord. All you have to do is to bring the property back to the state it was when you moved in and hand the keys on or before the tenancy end date. Scroll down for more info about how to prepare for moving out of the property.
However, if you want to move out during the duration of the fixed-term, it will be a breach of your tenancy agreement. The proposed steps are to contact your landlord and express your intention. They can either require you to pay the remaining rent up to the end of the fixed-term or pay a fee for them to find a tenant to replace you and change the tenancy agreement to include their details. You could also find a tenant to replace you yourself and negotiate with the landlord regarding any penalty fees.
If you want to move out part-way through your fixed-term tenancy, contact Repit and we will take care of the negotiations with your landlord!
Having a periodic tenancy means that the tenancy runs indefinitely unless ended. The agreement contains specific terms as to how and when the tenancy may be brought to an end, as well as a rent review clause.
Usually, the term of such tenancy will be for a fixed period, and once the fixed period expires, the tenancy becomes rolling — meaning, it turns into a periodic tenancy.
Let’s look at an example:
“The Tenancy shall be from and including the 1st day of July 2023 up to and including the 30th day of June 2024 and thereafter from month to month and until terminated by either party serving a notice on the other in accordance with this Agreement”.
So the tenancy is for a fixed term of 12 months and unless a notice is served (either by the landlord or by the tenant), the tenancy will continue on a rolling basis month by month.
If you want to stay
If you want to stay in a tenancy and the fixed term period is looming close, you don’t need to notify your landlord about your intentions.
However, beware of what’s called a ‘rent review clause’. The fixed term period guarantees certain monthly rent by locking the amount. Once the fixed term ends and the tenancy becomes periodic, the rent becomes ‘unlocked’ and the landlord reserves the right to change it.
This is an example of a rent review clause:
“It is agreed that the rent as defined in this Agreement will be reviewed on the anniversary of this Tenancy and upon each subsequent anniversary in line with the change in the Retail Prices Index (RPI) for the previous 12 months and the rent varied accordingly either by way of an upward or downward adjustment”.
Note: if the fixed-term is for more than 12 months, for example 18 months, the landlord could still insert a similar clause and review the rent every 12 months despite 6 months still being ‘outstanding’ before the tenancy becomes rolling. Rent review clauses are usually up to negotiation when agreeing other terms so if you need help, let Repit know and we will handle it for you!
If you want to go
If you want to move out of a periodic property, you are under an obligation to serve a notice to the landlord within a specified timeframe. This is called a break clause and an example could be worded like this:
“At the end of the initial fixed term as specified in clause 2 hereof, the Term shall continue on a month-by-month basis until either party shall serve on the other a written notice to bring the same to an end. Such notice should expire not less than one month after the same shall have been served”.
So the earliest the tenants could move out is the 30th of June 2024 (as per the periodic clause example) and in order to do so, the tenants must serve a notice on the landlord on the 30th of April 2024 at the earliest, in order to comply with the notice requirements. Similarly, the landlord also has the right to serve a notice on the tenant and the 2-month requirement must also be met for the notice to be valid.
In the above example, you can serve the notice at any time after the 30th of April 2024 but not earlier.
The tenancy agreement also specifies how to send a notice — i.e. by email or by post. Avoid just telling your landlord as it is better to have proof of when the notice was served just in case your landlord wants to dispute it when the moving out day comes.
An example notice could look like this:
“I am giving 1 month's notice to end my tenancy, as required by law. I will be leaving the property on (30th of June 2024). I would like you to be at the property on the day I move out to check the premises and for me to return the keys. I also need you to return my tenancy deposit of (state amount)”.
If the above is not clear, give Repit a shout and our team of specialists can look at your tenancy agreement and help find all of the relevant information. You can either sign up on our website here or if you have a specific query, you can email us or send us a message on Instagram.
After you’ve established your moving out date, it is time to think about what needs to be done before you can hand the keys back in.
The moving out checklist depends on what alterations have been done to the property but the bottom line is to return the property in the same state it was when you moved in.
Any damage to the property that falls beyond wear and tear resulting from reasonable enjoyment of the property must be made good by the tenants before they leave. Otherwise, the landlord may use the deposit to charge for repairs.
Repit tip: Make sure to compare the state of the property with the inventory / any photos you took when moving in. It will help you assess what needs to be repaired (if anything).
Similarly, the property must be left clean and all personal items, furniture or rubbish must be removed. It might be worth considering hiring a professional cleaner to ensure the place is spotless and the landlord won’t charge for the mess! Why not consider one of Repit’s partners — Stackt — London’s best experts in moving, cleaning and shipping as well as securing and storing items!
Repit tip: We recommend getting the oven professionally cleaned — ovens are time-consuming and difficult to clean and it is one of the most common things the landlord can use your deposit to pay for.
Before you move out, ensure you have paid all outstanding rent. It may sound obvious, especially that it is common practice to set a monthly direct debit. However, if you move out part way through the month and cancel your direct debit, there may be a few days that are left unpaid. Unless you pay it, the landlord will take it off your deposit.
You are entitled to receive the full amount of your deposit back at the end of your tenancy unless the landlord has a good reason not to pay it back in full. As mentioned, reasonable wear and tear cannot be deducted off your deposit but unpaid rent or damage to the property may. In an event that the landlord wants to charge you for something, they must send you a detailed list including costs. You are also entitled to dispute it when the costs are inflated or the list unreasonable.
You can read more about deposits here.
There are quite a few considerations to bear in mind before you can move out of the property. We try to make it as digestible as possible for you — but if you are still unclear and need more guidance, get in touch!
Remember — the information contained in this article is for guidance only. Every tenancy agreement is different and you must check it as the starting point before taking any steps.
If you are looking for a new place to live, Repit can facilitate the whole process for you.