It’s always a situation you hope, as a landlord, you don’t have to deal with – when a tenant leaves early.
Not only do you have the issues of finding another tenant you also have the potential legal issues to deal with surrounding the tenant’s leaving.
First things first: you should have in your tenancy agreement a clause that covers such an occurrence. This is vital – especially if the tenant’s leaving turns into a legal dispute.
When a tenant puts in a request to terminate and leave early from a fixed term tenancy it is essentially a negotiation between them and the landlord. (The issue is clouded if there is one tenant leaving, leaving others behind and this would be covered by ‘Surrender in Part’ and is a slightly different issue).
A landlord is not obliged to let a tenant break the terms of the tenancy but it’s often common sense to negotiate. You need to calculate any loss of fees you may incur – which in itself may be disputed – or whether your clause for early termination has an actual penalty value to cover the costs you will have to carry and is one agreed by the tenant when s/he signs the contract.
A leaving tenant may also find the landlord a replacement tenant. Do not at any point say yes to the new tenant without carrying out your usual vetting procedures. They may be a perfectly good tenant but they aren’t taking over the tenancy as theirs will be a fresh contract.
This situation is going to occur so it’s more of a situation of how you handle the transition. By working with the leaving tenant you will part on good terms and avoid any missed rent payments.
It’s always wise to talk since any costs you incur funding a replacement will have to be borne by the leaving tenant (or, if you have a penalty clause, the costs will be covered by that).
When a tenant decides to leave a property is something of a legal grey area.
There is no legislation covering this eventuality and landlords need to set the terms for early termination, notice of termination and how the notice is served. This is purely a contractual matter between landlord and tenant.
This termination date needs to be agreed. You should get a proper ‘Surrender of Tenancy Letter’ which will act as a written document and which will then be proof that the tenant has given up possession of the property to the landlord.
If the tenancy agreement between landlord and tenant does not have a break clause and the landlord refuses to accept the termination notice then the tenant is contractually liable to pay the remaining rent balance for the fixed term tenancy.
This is where the art of negotiation is necessary. If there are seven months remaining on the tenancy then you could both settle on four months rent as a settlement to quit.
For more information and advice about how to deal with one tenant leaving during a tenancy, contact the UK’s premium provider of landlord services NoLettingGo.co.uk or call 0800 8815 366.
No Letting Go are the UK’s leading provider of inventory management services, providing check in and check out services, property inventory and condition reports and specialist on site services to landlords, lettings agents and property professionals.
Keep up to date: Free newsletter
You might also like
What does good inventory management consist of?Upload on January 18, 2021 by Lydia Horsley
A property inventory process is crucial if a landlord wants to protect themselves against picking up the bill for property repairs caused by a tenant. However, to be useful during a dispute, especially if the matter goes to court, it’s important that the inventory has been thoroughly completed as part of a well-managed process so [...]READ MORE
Property predictions for 2021: What to expect from the rental sector in the new yearUpload on December 22, 2020 by Lydia Horsley
The Coronavirus pandemic has hit every sector of the economy, but it hasn’t been a disaster for the rental market that some were fearing – in fact, it’s remained relatively stable. So, what does 2021 have in store after such an unpredictable year? Predictions for 2021 rental market In 2021 the overall demand for rental [...]READ MORE
Delivering a speedy end of tenancy deposit negotiationUpload on November 20, 2020 by NoLettingGo
Tenancy deposit disputes are messy and often frustrating for all involved. While the number of formal disputes remains low, the pandemic will have far reaching effects on all our finances and agents must prepare for increasing expectations in this area from both sides – landlords and tenants. Disputes frequently arise from lack of knowledge or [...]READ MORE
Automating property inventory management to support social distancingUpload on November 17, 2020 by Lydia Horsley
For property services to continue to operate in the “new normal”, we’ve all had to adjust our working practices to comply with Covid-19 rules. Yet in one key aspect of inventory management, we already had systems in place that enabled effective social distancing – our fully comprehensive property inventory software What you need from property [...]READ MORE