Landlord pull out before move in but after contracts signed

Hi, my new tenants and I have signed the tenancy agreement (last week) due to move in at the end of October. Deposit and first month’s rent has been paid to open rent. In the conversations between the tenant and myself I declared that a family member is looking to move into my property when they’ve secured a job locally. The tenant was Ok with that as they only wanted the property while they look for somewhere to buy. We agreed to go for 6 months and then review every 2. The family member has only gone and got a job interview this coming week (and is likely to get the job as it’s a transfer within the organisation). Where do I stand with the tenant if I need to pull out before the tenancy even starts?

you have a contract now and they have paid up. You need to honour this If the roles were reversed you would not like it.


I agree, I would be really annoyed. However, I wondered where I stood on this as it’s so far until move in day. Would I just need to hang on til the 4 months are up to give them the 2 months notice that I need the property back? It would then be the end of the 6 months AST…?

No, you need grounds to evict.

Best is to explain the predicament to the tenant IF your family member gets the job, not before. Be prepared to possibly pay compensation.

But if it’s a 6 month tenancy I don’t need grounds for eviction as long as I give them the required 2 months notice period (hence notice at 4 months)?

I will definitely wait until I know for sure that they have the job (mid next week) an then have an honest conversation with the tenant. What level of compensation would you be thinking if they do agree to withdraw? The Holding deposit?

If it were me i would want more than the holding deposit and I am a Landlord

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even when there is nearly two months before the tenancy is due to start? What do you think would be acceptable?

well if they have set their heart on the place? Maybe given notice on where they live? 2 months ahead is a long time to sign up . It would have been prudent not to advance so quick , but that s life, I do not think any advice can be given as to compensation . You need to speak to them and weigh it up yourself

A fair point indeed. They are living with family and it’s just a stop gap while their house purchase goes through, hence choosing them over someone looking longer term. I may just have to accept my family member living with me for the 6 months, as long as I can take my house back legally by then, using the break clause!


the best tenants( who will leave) ,are those looking for their own house after all, they may find a place and want to leave early, or come to you before they move in and say they have found a place. It could fall your way in the end.

I hope it’ll all work out for the best for everyone in the end. I just wanted to work out where I stood before I do anything else. Thanks for taking the time to respond everyone- I hope it resolves itself amicably but if not, I’ll be back on here!

Unfortunately, you still need grounds to evict. You can’t as a landlord just say I don’t want you as my tenant any more, please leave.

Also, what does your contract state happens when the six months is up? You can obviously use s21 but that would require a court order unless they leave voluntarily.

I would offer one month’s rent and obviously money back to break the contract.

Surely needing the house yourself, or for family, to live in is grounds to evict towards the end of a tenancy agreement?

Your family - no.

Yourself (if you’ve lived there before and it’s in the contract) - yes

But you still need to evict through the courts.

I actually emailed them using openrent’s messaging service before contracts were signed to appraise them of the situation- that we chose them as they’re looking for short term and that my family member is looking to move in when they’ve found an appropriate job locally but not likely to be within 6 months and were they happy to continue to sign on that basis? (if was within the six months I’d host member at my home until the house became available at the earliest legal opportunity). It just seems that my family member may have found a job sooner than anyone planned. I’ll hang on to find out about the job this week and then have an honest conversation with the tenants.

Would I still need to go through the courts even if I use the break clause in the contract at the right time?

If you have a btl mortgage it may not be allowed for you to rent to a family member

If they decide you want to stay - what are you going to do? Go there and drag them out? You’d be arrested.

Yes, if they don’t agree with you then you must go through the courts at your own expense.

It’s naive to believe they would have to move as soon as you want them to.

Edit: sorry, didn’t mean to sound so harsh but it’s important you understand what you’re getting yourself into.

Thanks all for your thoughts and opinions. I have followed the links through the government website for Section 21 notices (no fault evictions) and also looked through Openrent’s own guides to surrendering tenancies. I think I have the information that I need for now.


Surely going through the courts is only necessary if the tenants refuse to leave after giving them 2 month notice to vacate?