Tenants leaving middle of tenancy period during fixed term

I tried searching in past posts, but either I am not good at searching or it hasn’t been discussed - probably the former, so please bear with me!

I am a landlord and my tenants have given me notice in month 9 of their 12 month fixed term tenancy (with a MBC). The tenancy period starts on the last day of the month as they moved in on 31 January 2020. They now want to leave mid-month in December. Are they required to pay for the whole month of December? The AST is the document taken directly from the OpenRent database, which says the following:

12.5. Any time after 4 months from the start of the Tenancy Agreement either party can exercise the break clause by giving two months notice in writing to the other party. This means that the earliest time that the tenancy can be ended by this clause is after the expiry of 6 months from the commencement of the Term.

Unfortunately this isn’t clear enough for either parties, so I was hoping that someone in the community could help me in the right direction. Thank you very much in advance!

The tenant is liable to pay one month rent as notice is calculated from the last rental payment date I.e 31st even if they want to move out early.

So for example, if they give notice on 15th November to vacate on 15/12, they are liable to pay until 31/12/20.

Basically, notice start from 31st, date of the agreement.I.e even if they give notice earlier.

1 Like

liable to pay and actually paying are two seperate things

1 Like

Thank you very much for your response and for confirming something that I had already suspected in a way! So the tenancy period runs from the last day to last day. Good to know :slight_smile: Thanks a lot!

Hi Miyako,

Thanks for your message.

A couple of things to note are that a tenancy can end at any time by the mutual consent of all parties and we are also not legally trained so you may wish to seek independent legal advice on this.

That said, it is my understanding that as long as the tenants have provided you with a minimum of 2 months notice they can serve notice to leave on any date, so their leaving mid month is not an issue (as long as 2 months notice has been provided).

Thank you, that’s very helpful - I suppose on the basis that we have been on great terms throughout the tenancy and they have given me plenty of notice, I could allow a mid month termination of the contract. But it is great to know that they can serve notice on any date. Many thanks!

You could legally say they either have to leave at the end of November or they will have to pay till end of December but as you say they have been good and you have loads of notice then I’d just take a partial payment.

The only downside is that finding tenants who want to move in before Xmas might be problemsome - I always try to avoid contracts that begin/end around the Xmas/New year hols - so asking if they could move out at end of November might be an option?

That is a very good point. I think I will take your advice on board and see what might be mutually beneficial! Thank you!

The break clause doesn’t talk about rent periods so they would not have to pay until the end of a rent period, as long as they give 2 months notice it can end at any point within the period. It is within the fixed term of the agreement so the notice period doesn’t need to end on the first or last day of a rent period, that’s only in periodic agreements.

Thanks Katherine, I wasn’t aware of that - OpenRent certainly doesn’t make it easier for landlords to end a tenancy mid-month! Thank you for your advice.

Best not to use break clauses in your tenancy contracts. Few are well enough written that they can be fully relied upon by landlords. Better to give a six month term and then let the tenancy go periodic.