Tenant's Toolkit

Ending your tenancy early

Your tenancy agreement or contract is usually set for a fixed term (such as 12 or 18 months). You can end a tenancy agreement before the fixed term expires if:

  • there's a break clause that lets you give notice early
  • your landlord agrees you can leave ('surrendering the tenancy')

You will continue to be a fixed term tenant if you sign another tenancy agreement for a further fixed term.

Using a break clause to end your tenancy early

Your tenancy agreement may have a break clause allowing you to end the tenancy before the end of the fixed term. Check your agreement to see.

Your tenancy agreement will tell you:

  • when the break clause applies (such as 6 months after the tenancy starts)
  • how much notice you have to give

You must:

  • give notice in writing
  • deliver your letter by hand (ask for a receipt) or post it using recorded delivery.

You don't need your landlord's permission to use a break clause but you must give them notice. Don't use email to give notice unless your agreement says you can.

Surrendering your tenancy

If your tenancy agreement doesn’t have a break clause, you still have the option of surrendering your tenancy. However, your landlord must agree to this.

If they agree, get your landlord to confirm this in writing. It will help avoid misunderstandings and problems later.

For example, your landlord can deduct money for unpaid rent from your tenancy deposit, so it's important you can prove when your tenancy ended.

For further information, visit Shelter’s advice on the topic here.