Property and Homes

Ending a tenancy - dealing with a tenants’ notice to the landlord UK

Ending a tenancy is a legal process and there are certain steps a landlord must take in order to ensure that they have followed the appropriate procedure.

Ending the tenancy by giving notice

Before ending the tenancy itself the landlord will need to give the correct “Notice” to the tenant.

The notice can be used to end a fixed or periodic tenancy or to request early termination also known as a ‘surrender’ of a tenancy.

The notice document allows you to include the following;

  • Tenant’s name and address
  • The landlord’s name and address
  • The date the notice period ends
  • A forwarding address
  • A request for tenancy documentation such as the tenancy agreement or deposit details
  • A reason for a request to terminate the tenancy early (if applicable)

What type of tenancy is in place

A fixed-term tenancy ends on a particular date so ending a tenancy like this is usually more straightforward. This type of tenancy is usually set for an initial period of six months and should the parties agree, it can be up to 12 months or more. After the agreed fixed-term has expired, the landlord can offer a new fixed term agreement, the tenant could give notice that they no longer wish to live at the property or the landlord could give notice to have the property back. The only ways to end your fixed term tenancy early are:

  • If the landlord agrees and allows the tenant to exit the contract early. 
  • If your contract mentions certain conditions for ending your tenancy early. 

If there is no fixed term or the initial fixed term has finished and wasn’t renewed, the tenant would be said to have a periodic tenancy.

Unlike a fixed-term tenancy, a periodic tenancy doesn’t have an end date and either rolls from month to month or week to week.  If the tenant is under a periodic tenancy, they would still be required to give the landlord written notice to end the periodic tenancy. This is called a “notice to quit”.  A notice to quit must give at least 4 weeks’ notice to end on the first or last day of a tenancy period.

Ending a tenancy by surrendering your tenancy 

If there is no break clause (usually 6 months) in your fixed-term tenancy then the tenant can surrender the tenancy but only if your landlord agrees. A surrender can either be expressed or implied:

  • Express surrender – the landlord and tenant are both in agreement to end the tenancy in writing by using a deed of surrender.  
  • Implied surrender – this type of surrender is based on a series of actions of both the landlord and tenant that are inconsistent with the continuation of the tenancy. For example, the tenant gives the keys back to the landlord and both agree to end the tenancy.

Ending a tenancy and the minimum amount of notice to give

At the end of the fixed term

The tenancy agreement will state the process regarding when to give notice.  Alternatively, if nothing is mentioned then the landlord or tenant can give notice on the last day of the fixed term.

Using a break clause

The break clause stated within the agreement will state the minimum notice period.


A notice period is not required as the tenancy is terminated with immediate effect whether expressly or implied.

Ending a tenancy without giving notice

Just because the tenant has physically left the property doesn’t mean that they are no longer liable for paying rent for the remainder of their tenancy term.

Should the tenant leave without giving notice, a landlord will be able to go to court to obtain a court order, legally compelling the tenant to pay the due amount of rent and the accumulated arrears. 

Although landlords could recoup the arrears from the tenant, it is important to highlight that the Tenant Fees Act 2019 placed a limit on the amount landlords can request their tenants pay for the security deposit, which is typically five weeks rent. So landlords will unlikely be able to use the deposit to recoup all their costs.

Need to fix a repair or breakdown?
price my job
Landlord Blog

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer.