Fixed term tenancy issue

Very grateful for advice. I let a flat to three tenants on one agreement. They have a fixed term tenancy which ends shortly, and two of them told me orally, about a month or so ago that they would be leaving. At the time I was told that all three would be leaving because the remaining tenant did not have anybody to replace them.

However, the third tenant, in fact, tried to find replacement tenants for a new tenancy to start at the termination of the old one, but there were issues with obtaining references for the prospective tenants.

If I don’t obtain vacant possession when the tenancy ends, will a statutory periodic tenancy come into being or will the tenancy just terminate?

A possible issue is that the tenants who said that they were leaving told me orally and not in writing. The contract does not mention that the tenancy continues as a statutory periodic tenancy or a contractual periodic tenancy.

Thanking you very much

If any one tenant remains in occupation, a periodic tenancy will arise for all tenants. All liable for the rent, although it is up to you whether you pursue one or all of them for it.

In order to end the tenancy, any one of them may serve notice once it becomes periodic. The first day they can do that is the second day of the SPT. They are all therefore committed for at least two further months.

Thank you very much for your reply David. It is very kind of you to bother to do that.

Is the oral notice that they gave me previously invalid then?

The tenant can’t serve a legal notice during the fixed term, so it was only ever an informal notification.

I thought that tenants weren’t legally required to serve notice at all in a fixed term tenancy, only landlords had that obligation - and that they could just leave at the end of a fixed term.

With a fixed term tenancy that doesnt continue contractually, no tenant notice would be valid during the fixed term. However that tenant is able to leave without notice on or before the last day of the term. They would have to let you know they’ve left of course. In the case of a joint tenancy, this must be all of them.

Thank you very much for clarifying that.