Ending My Contract: My assured shorthold tenancy for 6 months ended 2 months ago. My landlord failed to renew my contract, so can I now just leave?
A tenancy does not end when the contract runs out. It becomes a ‘periodic’ tenancy, as opposed to the ‘fixed term’ tenancy you had originally. This means it now runs from month to month rather than for a specific period. In other words you now occupy under a series of one-month tenancies, or one-week, or 4 weekly tenancies, if you pay rent weekly or every 4 weeks.
Most of your rights and responsibilities will remain the same and the original tenancy agreement remains valid and in force, but the rules on ending the tenancy are different.
If you decide to leave it’s important you end your tenancy correctly otherwise you could still be liable to pay rent even though you have left.
Now that your tenancy agreement has finished, any clause about notice no longer applies.
However, by law you will now need to give at least four weeks’ notice, or notice equivalent to one rental period, whichever is longer.
Therefore, if you pay rent weekly, or every four weeks, you must give four weeks’ notice in writing. If you pay every calendar month you must give a calendar month’s notice in writing.
If you don’t give notice correctly the landlord could withhold your deposit to cover any rent due and/or take you to court for any money owing.
Some landlords will be happy to waive these rights, especially if they can re-let easily, but others will insist on whatever rents they are entitled to in law. It’s always best to speak to your landlord to see what their views are on the matter.
Note: never rely totally on these standard answers. Before taking action or not, always seek professional advice with the full facts of the case and all documents to hand. LandlordZONE.co.uk