Tenant leaving well before end of AST

I have tenant wishes to leave well before end of 36 month AST - after only 4 months. Tenant had outstanding credit rating and only agreed to 36 months because he was so good; so I want to hold him to 36 months - there were helpful rent rise provisions in there too so lots of reasons to hold him to contract. Any advice how I do this?

If they sign for 3 year they should be ready to pay for 3 year! If landlord want end the AST in the term it is near impossible why should tenant get any better?. Labour want to make 3 year law. Imagine if this was the law martin your circustance would happen so often.

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I’m tempted to crush the tenant and insist on the full 36 months with rent rises we had agreed in AST - any reason why I shouldn’t insist?

Hi Martin. That’s an understandable feeling - after all, you both agreed to this, why not keep to it? On the other hand, it could cause you more difficulty than you expect. Collecting rent from a tenant desperate to leave isn’t a lot of fun. You might also find they take less care of the property. Finally, any legal proceedings to compel them to keep to the agreement could be costly - both financially and time-wise. I’d recommend discussing this with the tenant and outlining your position - both practically and legally. Having explained that they’re obliged to pay for the 36 months, you might be able to persuade them to keep paying until you find new tenants - after all, legal proceedings are not fun for tenants either. Wishing you the best with this.

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Yes usually best to avoid court because court fees is bigger than any rent arrear you collect. But Martin is owe 3 years of rents - so that will always be bigger than court costs ! This is not a few week rent were talking about

Hi Martin,

We’d always recommend that it’s best to come to an arrangement that works for both parties wherever possible, although in this case it does seem you have acted in good faith only to be let down.

The most common solution in these situations is that the tenancy is kept going until a suitable replacement tenant can be found. The original tenancy is then mutually surrendered and the new one set up to start the next day, so there’s no void period.

It’s a bit of work, and there’s no obligation for you to agree to this while you’re in the fixed term of a tenancy, but as @katherine81 mentioned, having a tenant in your property who doesn’t want to be there does increase the risk of damages, late payment of rent, non-payment of rent, abandonment, etc.

Please do keep us up to date as things progress!

Best of luck,


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for info, the tenant has backed down and agreed to stay after putting a bit of crush on him - so it has worked out well once he realised I was serious about enforcing the contract - I knew he had means of rich parents - so I think this is lesson for us all - stick to guns and you can win out.


Hi Martin, that’s great news. Tenants (and landlords) should stick to what they agreed, so fantastic that you’ve been able to keep the original agreement.

Offer a 3 year tenancy was a big offer of trust on your part, so I’m glad you didn’t end up being burned!


Sam’s got it !
Let’s keep it simple: if a tenant wants out, let them formally request Early Release from contract.
Your reply will explain their obligations are as per the fixed term but that you will recomnence advertising and try your best to find a suitable new tenant to assist them.
You would need confirmation of a vacation date, either at this point (preferable) which you should acknowledge and accept so that you are not recklessly messing about new tenant applicants who may well have given their own notice to move in just after Matey said he would move out.
Seek professional advice on how best to write this up and confirm the legal position my post implies.

It is most important you get them to confirm that giving a specific date will assist you greatly in finding new people and thus refunding them for days owed but that it is legally binding once you have acknowledged & accepted their date to vacate. It changes the Terms (Term end date) because you are both agreeable to this change i.e. their request & your acknowledgement/acceptance.

Get them also to acknowledge (all this in writing) that they will remain liable for on-going including rental payments as specified in the fixed term, until a new bod in can, in effect, end their own rental liability.

If they don’t agree in writing to your attempt to assist while formally accepting their continued liabilities, my advice would be to ‘back off’ and let them think about it. In effect, you would have offered to do them a favour. If they kick up at all, let them stew with the only option available and enjoy the silence. Legally, you didn’t have to offer any assistance.

Check all this with professional advice, please, since the law is ever-changing and I am a small brain with a smart phone.

Peter B
Member NLA (accred)