Ending a tenancy agreement needn’t be a headache for landlords. It is however very important to get it right. There are procedures and laws in place to ensure you’re doing everything fairly and within reason. So before you begin to feel as if you’re drowning in regulations and rules, here’s a simple guide to the process.
First thing’s first, you’re going to have to give your tenants some notice and often some information and preliminary warnings. Everything depends on the type of tenancy agreement and its specific terms. Get your contract out, give it a read and see what’s most appropriate for you.
Assured Shorthold Tenancies
In some assured shorthold tenancies, you don’t need to give your tenant a reason for taking your property back. For this to be the case, you must first meet the following criteria:
- The deposit is protected in a deposit protection scheme
- You give your tenants 2 months’ written notice
- The tenancy agreement ends at least 6 months after the original tenancy began
- The agreement is a periodic tenancy. Alternatively, you can do this with a fixed term tenancy as long as the fixed term has ended
Ending a Fixed Term Tenancy
Okay we get it – you’re finding out how to end a tenancy agreement because you’ve got a reason. We’re guessing this reason concerns your tenants themselves. Maybe they’re in arrears and it’s putting you under financial burden? Or maybe you’ve heard reports that they’re selling drugs from your property and you want them out? Both completely acceptable reasons for wanting them gone. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy – even if they’ve broken rules of the tenancy agreement! Your reason for wanting possession whilst the fixed term is still in effect must meet the specifications set out in the Housing Act 1988. The notice period you have to give will vary from reason to reason. More information on this can be found here.
To regain possession of an Assured Tenancy, you must follow the Housing Act 1988 and use an applicable reason.
Excluded Tenancies or Licences
An excluded tenancy or licence is usually found when you share a room with a lodger. The rules for regaining possession in these instances are less strenuous. You must give ‘reasonable notice’. The term itself is slightly ambiguous though it’s recommended that you give the length of the rental payment period. For example if you collect payment every month, a month’s notice is considered reasonable. You do not usually need to give notice in writing for this type of agreement.
Non-Excluded Tenancy or Licence
The agreement can be ended at any time. You must give a written notice to quit. The notice period is usually 4 weeks unless otherwise stated in the tenancy agreement.
Most tenancy agreements will include a break clause. This means that after a specific amount of time has passed, either the landlord or the tenant can serve notice to quit. Sometimes contracts feature a tenant-only break clause though this is uncommon and not recommended. Some break clauses will be unconditional while some rely on conditions such as the rent being up-to-date etc. The landlord does not have right to possession of the property throughout the first period until the break clause is met.
What if the Tenant Doesn’t Leave the Property?
Whatever you do, don’t force your tenant out your property – that’s illegal! If the notice period’s up and your tenants refuse to budge, it’s time to start the process of eviction through the courts.
Ending a tenancy agreement can be a stressful time. Take the strain of inventory management off your plate with No Letting Go’s Inventory services. Find out more information here.
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