OpenRent Community

Going Periodic: What Happens When a Tenancy's Fixed Term Ends?

Originally published at: http://blog.openrent.co.uk/what-happens-when-a-tenancys-fixed-term-ends/

Landlord law expert Tessa Shepperson explains everything about periodic tenancies, rolling contracts, contract renewals, and what to do when your AST’s minimum term is about to expire! What happens in a joint tenancy when one tenant wants to leave, but the other tenants want to stay in the property? Want help with your specific situation?…

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Would anyone be able to shed some light on something please?

We have lived in a house for over three years, on a periodic tenancy after the first year. The estate agents managed the advertisement of the letting, organised the initial arrangement etc but have had no dealings with us since and have never managed the property. In fact when we contacted them about a different issue a few months ago they said that we ‘didn’t exist on their system’ and our contract with them expired after the original twelve month period.

Two members of the house are now leaving, with two others staying. We gave the landlady the requisite amount of notice. She is fine with the situation, but has now looped the estate agents back in to draw up the new contract with the replacement tenants. However they now say that each person leaving owes them a 60 GBP fee as a ‘deed of surrender’.

Does this seem right? We are outside the term of our original contract so it seems odd that we should be charged for this.

Hi, I was reading this post, which if I understand it well it can benefit me so much. I am a tenant and my assured shorthold tenancy agreement is coming to an end on the first week of March. Today I visited a new property which I am likely to rent it very soon. My contract says I should give 2 months notice prior to the end of the fixed term or 1 month notice in the event of becoming periodic tenancy.

Is any risk of losing my deposit or part of it for giving 1 month notice only because the contract is due to expire in 2/3 weeks? Thank you.

Hi Alex,

The tenancy can come to an end at any point where both you and the landlord are on the same page and agree to this.

Where the tenancy is coming to an end by way of the mutual break clause in the contract, then the stipulated notice period is what’s required. The break clause is viewable in section 11 of our AST.

George

Hi Alex, also worth noting that if you don’t come to an agreement with the landlord, then you will be liable to pay the rent for the duration of the fixed term, as the tenancy will not have been terminated.

If you do not pay the rent, then the landlord will be able to take unpaid rent from your deposit.

Sam

Thanks a lot Sam for your reply. My plan is to give one month notice the day after my contract expires (on the 1st March). If i give my notice now, it has to be 2 months. I want to leave as soon as possible, so it benefits me to give notice for a month only. I am just scared that they might call me and put pressure on me to renew the contract, and I want to refuse that. I have been with them for 5 years.

Regards,

Alex

Oh sorry Alex I think I misunderstood your situation.

If your fixed term ends on 1st March, then you can usually move out on the last day of the tenancy, without giving any notice, as described in the original post here.

If you stay even one day longer, the the contract will become a periodic tenancy and you will have to give notice one month’s to terminate it.

As I understand from what Tessa wrote, clauses demanding the tenant has to give notice if moving out on the last day of the fixed term will be seen as unfair clauses. That’s Tessa’s point in the post.

In this case, the tenancy would end on the last day of the fixed term, they would need to return your deposit within 10 days. Because the tenancy would be terminated and you would have vacated the property, they would not be able to charge you rent after 1st March.

It is always best to communicate your plans with the landlord and not to just spring this upon them! We always recommend mutual agreements wherever possible, as these work best for both parties.

Hope that helps!

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Hi Sam,
My fixed term tenancy ended April 21st and I was issued an addendum to fill in and sign to renew my contract and pay a fee of £105.I did not do this as I was not in agreement as the addendum specifies 2 months notice period like the fixed term contract. Now I want to move out by the 13th July and notice served on the 1st June. The agency insists on 60 days notice period but the fixed term contract has now expired and I believe this has no legal hold on me as I did not renew, thus I believe i’m now under an automatic periodic tenancy. I am thinking of with holding my next rent of £1,000 due on the 21st June as I have £1,385 deposit with the agency. I believe that if I leave on the 13th July they will still charge me till the 31st July. What is your advise??

Hello to all, I have a specific question and I would really appreciate some help here. I have a joint periodic tenancy agreeent with two other housemates. I want to move out and i gave 45+days notice to my landlord. Now he claims i am not entittled to leave with just my notice as we all have to leave together or noone leaves, and he will keep me responsible for the rent even when i move out. The end clause is the standard from openrent’s contract:

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 i end this periodic contract with giving the appropriate notice?

Sam and Open Rent are not solicitors, so they can only re-iterate the legal advice they have given in the above link that I am about to read.

In my view, if you did not sign the addendum, that I don’t think was legal in any case as a fresh new agreement is needed, then you all are on a periodic tenancy and you all only need to give one months notice, before the last whole month for which a payment is due, and there should be no repercussions that you can’t successfully win in the court if necessary, ignoring any damage claims that may arise. Note, all have to theoretically leave.

This is because you remain legally responsible, as your name is on the tenancy agreement, if you leave, for any defaults by your housemates. So to protect your position, you all need to chat to the landlord, explain that only one wants to leave, and that requires the landlord to issue a fresh agreement just for the remaining tenants. This will avoid you all moving out and having the place vacant if you all actually left.

If you are unable to contact the landlord directly, then you may have to issue notice to leave, or ask for a fresh contract in the names of the remaining tenants only. The latter is the best course of action to take to protect you from future unexpected costs and means you do not all have to issue a joint notice to leave. If the agent / landlord refuses to issue a new agreement, then you all need to issue a joint notice to leave.

Good luck

I stand corrected, having read the above link, “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.”

I’m a landlord and don’t mind my fixed contract turning into a rolling periodic tenancy, but it does seem like a risk if the tenants can just move out at the end of the term without notice. I don’t think mine would (wil ask them) but circumstances can change quickly so just wanted to see how others handle this and if it might be better drawing up a new fixed term contract after all?

I have let 2 of my tenants roll over 20 years ago and they are still there. great.

Hello,

I was wondering if anyone here could help me. I am in a bit of a tricky situation where my fixed term contract is due to end on 1st September. On 13th of July I told the landlord I would stay and resign for 6 months but my situation changed on 17th August and I emailed him to say I couldn’t stay anymore and will leave at the end of my fixed term on 1st September and sorry. He said that I can’t do that and needed to give him notice. I don’t understand as I didn’t see anything in my contract about notice to end on fixed term and it says “if we allow you to remain in the property after the fixed term has expired then the tenancy will continue as a contractual periodic tenancy. To end a periodic tenancy you shall give us at least one month’s notice in writing.”… I don’t understand. Did this mean I had to give 4 weeks notice to leave at the end of my fixed term? Am I in the wrong?

Hi Bobby, Sorry in advance for the long message. Do get in tougch with Shelters to confirm the below but the rules for a assured shorthold tenancy (AST) agreement are as follows:

The contract

ASTs can be:

fixed term - often 6 or 12 months
periodic - rolling weekly or monthly

In your case I understand that the AST is a fixed term.

At the end of a fixed term
When your contract ends you have 3 different options:

Your 3 options at the end of a fixed term are:

1- sign a renewal agreement for a new fixed term 
2- let it become a rolling or periodic tenancy
3- leave the tenancy 

Your tenancy will usually end automatically if you leave by the last day of the fixed term. Some contracts say you have to give notice so check your agreement.

If you want to stay, you can either:

  • agree a new fixed term contract – your rent may increase
  • stay in your home without signing a new contract – your agreement becomes periodic and rolls on monthly at the same rent

If you want to leave, you can usually end your tenancy by moving out and returning the keys by the end of the fixed term. Check your contract to see if you have to give notice that you’re leaving.

If you’re a joint tenant you need to discuss what you want to do with the other tenants (see: https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/private_renting/how_to_end_a_joint_tenancy)

If you stay in the flat pass the end of your fixed term agreement then you have to give 1-month’s notice period.

To be valid, a tenant’s notice must end on the first or last day of a tenancy period.

In your case your tenancy agreement ends on the 1st of September after which date the contract becomes a statutory periodic agreement.

Monthly tenancies

For example (that is my real life example) if your tenancy began on 29th August then:

  • the first day of the tenancy period is the 30th August
  • the last day of the tenancy period is the 29th August
    Check your agreement, the tenancy period willl be specified.

In my case, my notice would need to end either on the 30th or 29th of the month. Hence, the earliest I could move out in September, without being liable for unpaid rent, would be either the 29th or 30th September.
It is very important that you give the right notice, otherwise you may be liable for unpaid rent. You want to make sure your notice period ends on the right day.

Leaving at the end of the fixed term

Many tenancies end automatically if you leave by the last day of the fixed term.

Some contracts continue as periodic tenancies after the fixed term unless you give notice to say you’re leaving.

Check your contract before the fixed term ends to see if you have to give notice and how much notice you should give.

It’s a good idea to tell your landlord that you plan to leave even if it’s not mentioned in your agreement.

How to end a periodic tenancy

You need to give the right notice to end a periodic tenancy.

What is a periodic tenancy?

A periodic tenancy is one that rolls on a weekly or monthly basis with no end date.

It might be periodic from the start or roll on after the end of a fixed term contract.

If you have a fixed term tenancy with an end date (e.g. 6 months) there are different rules if you want to move out early.

Giving notice

You can give your landlord a written notice to say you want to end your periodic tenancy. You must:

  • give the right amount of notice
  • make sure it ends on the right day

If you have done both of these 2 things, then on the date that your notice ends:

  • your right to live in the property ends
  • you stop being liable for rent

Your landlord can still chase you for rent if you don’t end your tenancy properly

If you get a section 21 eviction notice and you want to move out before it expires, you may still need to give your own notice.

Check what type of tenancy you have

Hope this helps…check the Shelter website. Best of luck!

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Thanks for the help Belle.

That’s really useful information and was in line with my thinking. I am leaving on the last day of my fixed term on 31st August and I said that I would be doing that on 17th August even though there is nothing in my contract that says I need to give notice to leave at the end of the fixed term. I guess where the “grey area” is coming in that my landlord isn’t happy with is that I said I wanted to stay at the end of the fixed term but have now changed my mind. However I haven’t signed anything and I had a genuine change in circumstances. He seems to think just me saying via email that I’m staying is enough to now hold me to a 1 month notice period even though I am still in my fixed term.

Thanks for the help. I haven’t been able to get in contact with shelter as I imagine they are super busy at this time and citizens advice was giving me conflicting advice depending on who I spoke with.

Thanks!

You are most welcome Bobby! I was in the same situation as you and struggled to find accurate information…I think It’s great when renters can help each other, best of luck!

I did have a follow up question that you may know something about.

Obviously don’t worry if you don’t or don’t have time as you have helped a massive amount but I can’t seem to find accurate information on this!

I live in a two bedroom property and my assured shorthold tenancy is joint with another flat mate who is the lead tenant. The lead tenant has given notice and will be leaving at the end of the fixed term.

As stated, I am being told I can’t leave at the end of the fixed term as I didn’t give enough notice and will have to pay rent until the 16th September. However, the landlord is also planning on having a new tenant come into the spare room that has been vacated by the lead tenant at the start of September. This person isn’t on the existing shorthold tenancy and I haven’t given him consent. I dont want to share the house with this person and I haven’t signed any agreement with this person.

Can the landlord legally do this?

Surely he either charges me my notice period and the property is mine or he lets me go and gets new people.

If not, would I have an argument at not paying the notice period if I vacate by the end of the fixed term. Meanwhile, the landlord has given access to the property to someone else and is charging them rent?

Thanks for you help!

Hi again Bobby, I am very happy to help! I learned the hard way with my landlord who took complete advantage of me by imposing dubious conditions on my tenancy agreement. I just won a case against my ladlord and was awarded a subtantial payout…it took me 10 years to win a settlement for unfair conditions. I did not know what I know now, it would have taken me only a few months to get justice. Hence, I am always sympatetic towards fellow renters who face unfair tenancy situations…and I learned a lot!. I will put together a response and come back to you on this…in short, the landlord has NO right to impose such conditions on you unless the property is categorised as a HMO (house in multiple occupation). I will come back to you shortly with an indepth response. Thanks

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I don’t know the answer to all your questions but thought a tenant was allowed to leave at the end of a fixed term without giving any notice.