5 month fixed term tenancy - termination and notice Qs

I am an owner-occupier letting my home temporarily during a 6 month window (end of Feb to end of August), due to temporary relocation.

Initially, I was looking for someone to occupy the property for the full 6 months. However, I have found great tenants who can only commit to 5 months from end of March. They know that my family and I will be returning to the property at the end of the tenancy and the tenants are content to let on that basis.

The OpenRent AST is a standard 6 month term. Of course this can be amended to 5 months. However, my understanding is that any tenancy with a fixed term will create a statutory AST of 6 months, regardless of what the contract says. And also, it is not possible to serve a s21 notice before the first 4 months. If that is the case, am I at risk of not being able to get my home back until 6 months after commencement at the earliest, rather than 5?

I don’t believe the prospective tenants will refuse to leave at the end of 5 months. But out of an abundance of caution I would like to know: how can I adapt the OpenRent AST so that I can ensure I will be able to regain possession on the expiry of the fixed term of 5 months? The tenancy must end no later than 29 August (so 5 months term will commence on 29 March).

Or alternatively, is there a way of granting a 6 month tenancy from 29 Feb to 29 August, but structuring the agreement so that the tenants do not move in until 29 March and arranging the rental payments so that the tenants will effectively only pay for 5 months? That way I might still benefit from the protection of being able to serve a s21 notice on 29 June if necessary.

Any help much appreciated!

Hi Ben,

This is true, but if:

  • you have lived in the property as your primary residence before the tenancy begins, and
  • you inform the tenant that you intent to move back into the property as your primary residence in future, and
  • you include this as a custom clause in the OpenRent tenancy agreement
    then you should be able to serve a Section 8 notice, which does not share the same validity conditions as a Section 21 notice.

In any case, regardless of the eviction notice, it is quite unlikely that the tenant would stay beyond what you agree, as tenants typically do stick to their agreements. It is of course sensible to know all your options ahead of time, though.

I would do some more research using Section 8 and what the different grounds are for using it, and how you may be able to use them to gain possession if needed at the end of the tenancy.


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