Assured Shorthold Tenancy termination


Apologies as this topic may have been discussed before, but I feel that none of the previous discussions clarify my situation.
So we’re currently on an AST with 6 month term (ending 10th May 2020). We’ve been renewing a couple times and now are thinking of moving to another town due to my work place. In the latest agreement it states that:

  1. the parties hereby agree that in the event that the landlord shall desire to terminate the term of the tenancy during the termite landlord shall first give to the tenant at least two months’ notice in writing then upon the expiry of such notice the term shall cease and the tenant shall yield up vacant possession of the property and in accordance with the tenant’s agreements and obligations under the principal agreement without prejudice to the right of either party to make any claim against the other for any previous breach of this agreement of the principal agreement.
  2. during the term the tenant can vacate subject to providing one month’s written notice.

It seems to me like the above point is laid out very well for the landlord but not exactly clear for the tenant.
My questions are:

  1. can we leave before 10th May 2020 providing 1 month’s notice? is this considered a break clause?
  2. would our notice be 1 month from the day we serve the notice or from our next pay date if we’re in the second half of Feb now?

Thank you in advance


My understanding is that “during the term the tenant can vacate subject to providing one month’s written notice” means you give one months notice.
Worst case scenario is give your notice part way through the month, then you have to pay the full rent for the following month, e.g. 1.5 months if notice is given in mid-February.
If in mid February you stated giving them one months notice with an expected leaving date in mid March and can they confirm you only need to pay to mid March as per clause 2 then hopefully they will confirm 4 weeks rent instead of charging you for six.
Good luck.

Hi Ellie, it may be worth asking for legal advice on this. (1) sounds like a break clause that the landlord can use, but (2) does not. It just says the tenant ‘can vacate’ but vacating (i.e. not being present) a property is not the same thing as ending a tenancy (i.e. ending the obligation to pay rent).

Another thing to get clarity on here is that the term is six months. Landlords are only able to serve Section 21 eviction notices after four months, and they have a two month minimum period. That means the longest time that a tenant can be sure of their tenure is usually 6 months, unless the term is longer. Given this, it’s not really clear that (1) makes much sense, since the landlord would find it very difficult to end your tenancy before the six month term is over.

This may not be relevant to your situation, however. It sounds like you ae hoping to end your tenancy earlier than the six month fixed term you agreed, which ends on 10th May 2020. There are usually two ways to do this:
a. End the tenancy by mutual agreement. If you ask you landlord, and they agree you can move out earlier than that will be the simplest and most amicable way of proceeding.
b. If (a) is not possible, then to end a tenancy, you must either (i) validly serve notice, move out when it expires and stop paying rent, or (ii) activate a break clause and move out.
c. Move out on the last day of the fixed term and stop paying rent.

Option b.i. would not let you out early, since normally you can only serve notice to expire once the fixed term is over.
Option b.ii. sounds tricky due to the above point about whether you have a break clause or not.
Option c would not let you out early.

Therefore, it would seem most sensible to try option a; get the landlord to agree to surrender the tenancy early with a written agreement. Is that possible?