AST term - early move in

HI There, I have agreed with my new tenant A fixed Term of 12 months
Commencing on and including 01 Mar 2021 To and including 28 Feb 2022. However my tenant has asked me to grant access to the property to start moving earlier on 27h Feb 2021 which I am happy with to help him as it is a weekend, and I wont charge anything for this 2 days (27th and 28th February), could you please advise what is the best way to manage this within the AST?, Many thanks David

Start the AST on the day he wants to move in.
Serve documents in advance of that day as the contract will have began the day the tenant moves in.
All usual check ins on that date and rent payment for the month of March on that date

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Don’t do it! Once the tenant takes possession, the tenancy begins, but if they haven’t signed all the documentation at that point, they could then refuse because they already have a tenancy. You’re also probably not insured for this. If they want access early, suggest that you’re willing to alter the dates on the contract to allow it to start earlier.


Hi all, many thanks for your advise, just as additional information, the AST will be signed ahead of the move in date and the deposit will be secured, would this make any difference?

Is it worthy to add and additional clause like: “moving in date: the Tenants are allowed to move in from the 27th February 2021, all the Tenant and Landlord obligations will start from 27th February 2021. The rent payment will commence from the 1st March 2021 and no rent payment will be charged for the 27th and 28th February 2021.”

Many thanks in advance,

I agree with David

The date the tenant moves in is the date the AST starts and the date you document on deposit certificate). There must be no discrepancy at this point. All documents served must be in advance of this date. Do not make it legally precarious for yourself. If you end up in a bad situation with your tenant you will only kick yourself. Your tenant will have you over a barrel for the duration of his tenancy.

Rent payable ÂŁx on 27-2-21
The tenant should pay rent on the anniversary of that date
What happens if he does not pay on March 1st. You won’t even have the first months rent.
Just explain it is legally necessary to date everything on the date he takes occupancy.
I have made the anniversary of rent the first of the month if the tenant’s requested but Tessa Shepperson advised against this in a Landlord Law webinar so I have stopped doing it.

All is well at the beginning of tenancy and I appreciate you are trying to help them but you don’t know what the future holds. Prepare for the worst and anything less is a blessing.
I have had a tenant show his true colours literally as the key was given to him. The only vantage point was I knew the law better than he thought he knew the law, and I have a brilliant solicitor who knows their game better than they do but it was still emotionally exhausting until he left ( his social media post “its like 20 to 4 and im pretty sure ive pissed off my family, friends, landlord and every fxxxxxr”)
You don’t want to be on eggshells if relationships sour

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Many thanks for the feedback, I am on a dilemma now as I have offered them to start moving on 27th with no extra charge ( rent payment from 1st March), and I want to honour my word, what options I have any ideas?

Just say your insurers won’t permit it and apologise for the inconvenience
As David says you have no insurance without a minimum six month AST which you don’t have for two days

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I let my most recent tenant have the keys early. The world did not end!

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Cover yourself from the get go. You don’t know what the future brings. If it all goes well then great. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Do you live locally ? Could you keep the keys yourself but “open up” up for a couple of hours to let them leave stuff there then lock it back up. Do not let them stay overnight. Say this is the best you can offer.

This would also leave her in a legally precarious situation.
I’m afraid I am cup half empty due to experience.
I wasn’t born cynical… this job made me cynical

I’ve let tenants have keys early. Say the 1st months rent needs to be paid before the 27th feb, assuming it is then print the AST and amend start date to 27th feb and then you and all tenants sign the alteration at the point of handing over keys. The ast will still say the rent is due on 1st of month for future payments and email tenant to confirm there is no charge for the 2 days.

If someone broke into the property and stole their possessions before they moved in, the landlord would be liable and not covered by their insurance. Definitely don’t add anything to the contract about moving in early, that will just make it worse.

Clearly, some people have allowed this and have been lucky because nothing went wrong. However, the consequences if the tenant takes advantage or something happens are very great. For example, the relationship later breaks down. You try to evict and when you get to court the tenant challenges the dates on the tenancy agreement because they moved in early and your possession claim is thrown out.


The start date doesn’t have to be the same as the signing date eg my tenants are signing today for a lease starting 8 March. If necessary, change the start date on the lease and start the tenancy early. DO NOT TAKE A CHANCE if anything happens all your insurance etc will be invalidated. Just not worth it, recall the contract and make a new one. I made a mistake on mine and I just recalled in and started again. Small hassle but better than a law suit. Don’t forget you are always friends at the start of the tenancy and that is when you are off guard. Be nice, be helpful, be friendly even do the odd favour but DO NOT GO OUTSIDE YOUR OWN LEGAL BOUNDARY.


Please don’t do it. Stick to the rules and regulations.
Good to change the dates on tenancy contract to moving and moving out date too.

i have done this lots of times, its really no big deal because they are in contract within a couple of days anyway plus its goodwill, plus its less council tax for you to pay plus there is less chance of a break in. i don’t denigrate others opinions here , i had to think it through myself first time. if its a couple of weeks ahead i say give me a weeks rent. if the previous tenants moved out early and are paying you anyway its a little bonus for cleaning etc so you dont need to make a deposit deduction so its a win win win

is it possible to get a little more detail on this, perhaps a legal reference?

Unless a tenancy agreement is signed as a deed, which it almost never is these days, the tenancy begins when the tenant takes possession. That doesn’t have to mean living in the property because moving their stuff in can constitute taking possession, although that would not be automatic. A landlord giving consent to a tenant to move their things in early, could be argued by a tenant to mean that the tenancy was granted earlier than the documentation says. That would cause untold problems for a landlord later seeking a possession order at court if the tenant argues that the notice was invalid because it specified the wrong commencement date for the tenancy.


your point is well taken. county court judges are in truth fickle creatures and they could latch on to something like this dependant on how they are feeling at the time

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My past experiences affect what I do now and regarding tenancy agreements I now do the opposite of what’s happening here.
My properties would stay advertised for rental until the day the tenancy is signed which is the same date as the tenancy starts ,the same date the first months rent is paid and the same date they get the keys and the same date the meter readings are taken etc etc so one date for everything. Whether they just move stuff in on that date or move in themselves is up to them after all no landlords goes round to witness whether someone has actually moved or not in once keys are handed over that’s ridiculous , What would they so peer through the curtains! So the handing over of the keys is the act of possession.
The reason I do this is I’ve had too many prospective tenants pull out before signing and I’ve lost other prospective tenants as I turned them away saying it had already been let. So in effect it’s first come first served (as long as the referencing is satisfactory) and a case of put your money on the table or nothing is guaranteed.