Key handover before tenancy start date

Our tenants have requested whether they could move in some furniture a few days before the tenancy agreement commences.

Our flat will be empty and it would actually be quite convenient if we were to hand over the keys a few days early so we do not have to come back to town the day the lease actually commences.

We would only do this if the deposit and first month’s rent were paid ahead of the key handover.

My question is, does this action potentially cause legal issues?

One of the tenants is a friend so I do trust him.



You will get people screaming at you not to do that, but use your own judgement. If it suits both parties and you trust them, then why not.

You won’t be insured and if you ever need to evict it will cause a quagmire of problems
@David122 wrote a lenghty piece in the forum if you search for it.

I would never rent to a friend or someone recommended by a friend. Make sure your paperwork matches the date the key is given. The contract starts once you hand over the keys or their belongings are in the property.
Do not be sloppy on the paperwork thinking it will be ok it’s a friend

Business and Pleasure don’t go together. Don’t believe it’s a friend so it will be ok. Rentals can bring out the worst in human nature ( watch channel 5)


Don’t do it. Quite apart from the insurance issues, there are risks regarding the tenants rights. Just offer to start the tenancy earlier if they want to move things in earlier.

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Although it’s quite late to reply to this thread but I thought it would be useful for people who may stumble upon this thread in future.
In this case, I can understand why people are advising against handing over the keys to prospective tenant earlier than the contract start date (where tenant is also a friend so should be trusted and respected) because this may cause some legal nuisance if there happens to be any damage caused by the tenant or injuries or something odd like that since actual rental contract agreement isn’t enforceable during that period.
To avoid this potential legal situation (and to help out your own tenant who would also feel cared for if you help them out) is to simply issue a new AST paperwork with the earlier start date and give those first few additional days for free i.e. rent chargeable would still be from the actual day they wanted to move in initially.
This covers the legal side whilst fulfilling tenants genuine request and in my experience, if you help out tenants like this, they more often than not respect the landlord and take better care of the property or comply with any requests coming from landlord.