Edning joint periodic tenancy

Hello, all
I have a specific situation and I really would appreciate some help from experience. I currently have ongoing periodic tenancy agreement with my two other housemates. I want to move out on my own and have given my landlord more than 40 days of notice, ensuring the correct date to end is the right one. He came back to me saying I am not entitled to move out on my own and he will keep me responsible for rent. This is the end of contract clause:

Interrupting or Ending this Agreement
The following clauses set out the ways in which this agreement may be brought to an
end by either party. In addition, these clauses set out the procedures which the
Tenant or Landlord shall use when the tenancy is brought to an end.
11.1 If the tenancy is within the fixed Term, the Landlord may serve on the Tenants
the appropriate notice under Section 21(1)(b) of the Housing Act 1988 (as amended)
given during the fixed Term to expire on any day after the last day of the Term.
11.2 If the tenancy has lapsed into a periodic tenancy it may be terminated by:
• the Landlords serving the Tenant at least two months notice in writing under
Section 21(4)(a) of the Housing Act 1988 (as amended) and expiring on the
last day of a period of the tenancy.
• the Tenants giving written notice of at least one month and expiring on the last
day of a period of the tenancy.

Can anyone please advice me, can I move out on my own, provided I have given at least one month of notice and the contract is periodic?

Both the words ‘Tenant’ and ‘Tenants’ apply to all the tenants “jointly and severally”, at least I think that is the language solicitors use, that signed the contract(1). Those who signed continue to be responsible for all the rent due, and any damage arising, as individuals. That is, if any one of their housemates fails to fund their share of the rent and repair costs, the other tenants have to pay, so when you leave, if the other two fail to pay the rent, then you become liable, even though you have left!

This seems unfair and unreasonable, but that is how it is. The only way to change this is to discuss the situation with the landlord and your two housemates, as it requires all three of you to theoretically leave, i.e. to give the landlord notice to leave and for the landlord to issue a new agreement that only requires the signature of the remaining two. The landlord cannot charge more than £50 to do this, unless he can prove it cost more to do so, and as it is simply a case of deleting one name from the agreement, with no other costs involved, I see no reason why the landlord should not do this free of charge as he has no void period and no advertising to do!

Technically, the landlord:

  • needs to re-see proof that the two remaining housemates have a right to rent, and
  • if he has not undertaken an electrical installation check within the last five years, he will be having to do that a few months earlier than expected to comply with the current law. In addition, he
  • needs to download the current version of the government’s renting guide for your housemates and
  • contact the Deposit holder to return your share of the deposit to you, and to re-type their prescribed information questionnaire, so that you are no longer able to claim your deposit from them, leaving your housemates deposit in the scheme, if it is not momentarily returned to them and re-deposited, and
  • undertake a check-out inventory exercise that he may want to pay for, unless he is happy that your housemates are happy to take full responsibility for any damage that may have occurred during the tenancy, and not expect you to contribute towards it, and
  • take the risk that your housemates will move elsewhere instead of staying!

As you can see from the above, a lot of things have to be done to safeguard your position. They all cost in time and possibly money. Although the landlord cannot charge the ‘Tenants’ for these changes, apart from a change to the agreement, it may help to:

  • negotiate with your housemates regarding damage issues, so that the original inventory report continues to be the basis for their check-out situation, if the landlord writes this into the new agreement
  • offer to contribute to the landlords costs, if he is unwilling to agree to changing the contract. After all, if you all agree to leave, then he may put up with the costs, as it saves advertising etc.!

I feel sorry for people like you, who for whatever reason, feel they need to leave, be it a job change, or otherwise. Good luck.

(1) The contract terms continue to apply when it changes to an ongoing periodic tenancy agreement.

I stand corrected, as Going Periodic: What Happens When a Tenancy’s Fixed Term Ends? states: As long as they follow the terms set out in the contract, any tenant in a joint tenancy can give notice to leave the property. If the contract says 2 month’s notice is required, then any tenant can give this notice and move out two months later. At this point, the tenancy will have ended for all parties unless the tenancy agreement says otherwise. If the other tenants remain and keep paying the same rent, it won’t simply be business as usual, since the tenancy that previously existed, along with its terms, will have been terminated.

Hey! Thanks a lot for you replies. We managed to resolve the situation. I will definitely remember this for the future