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What happens if you have to break a tenancy within the first year?

What happens if you have to break a tenancy within the first year?

When you sign a tenancy agreement in London you will be focused on making the most of your life in your new home – but remember: no plans are set in stone. From needing to move for work to shifting family dynamics, your circumstances can change. To proceed with your new arrangements, you might need to break your tenancy early. So, can you do this easily within the first year?

Review your tenancy before moving in

The best way to shield yourself from any nasty surprises during your tenancy agreement is to forensically review it before signing. This will help you understand the specific terms regarding early termination, including the presence of a break clause, the associated notice period and fees, and the consequences of breaking the lease without a clause.

Ending a fixed-term tenancy early

A fixed-term agreement is the most common type of tenancy in London and typically extends for 12 months with the option for automatic renewal unless otherwise stated.

You can end a fixed-term tenancy early if you either:

  • Have an existing break clause in your contract – these typically become active after 6 months for 12 months tenancies, and after 12 months for 24 months tenancies. The break clause should clearly state when you can give notice and how much notice you should give. The standard in the London rental market is to have a two-months notice period.
  • Negotiate an early end to your contract with the landlord if you don’t have a break clause or need to move before the break clause becomes active.
  • Have the right to unwind your agreement because you were misled by the landlord. This is only in very rare occasions- we personally have never seen that being used by our clients.

If you don’t end the tenancy in one of these ways you might be responsible for covering the rent until the landlord finds a new tenant and they move in.

If your circumstances do change and you need to end your fixed-term tenancy early, the first thing you will need to do is let your landlord know in advance – this is called giving notice.

Negotiating with your landlord

You will need to negotiate with your landlord to end your tenancy agreement early if you do not have a break clause included. If you reach an agreement to end your tenancy and move out, it’s called a ‘surrender’.

The landlord might request that you meet some requirements before agreeing to end your tenancy, including:

  • Find a replacement tenant who can move in when you leave.
  • Give up your deposit or pay a fee, for example to cover the fees paid to an estate agent to market the property and find a new tenant.
  • Pay the outstanding rent or cover the rent until new tenants move in.

Ending a periodic tenancy

You would have a periodic tenancy if you had a rolling tenancy from the start – this will typically run from month to month or week to week – or your fixed-term tenancy has rolled on after ending.

You can end your periodic tenancy at any time by giving your landlord notice, usually one month, but do check your rental lease to be sure. You will have to pay your rent until the end of your notice period.

Getting help to end a tenancy early

Breaking a tenancy early in London depends on the specific terms negotiated in your agreement. Simply London can help you navigate the complexities of renting in London and understand tenancy agreements, so you can achieve the flexibility needed to alter your plans without incurring penalties.

Looking to understand the London rental market, and master all the steps required to rent a property? Buy and download our Guide to Renting in London!

This guide gives you all the detailed information to help you understand renting in London, including:

  • How to decide where to live in London
  • How to find a home to rent
  • How to make a rental offer
  • How deposits work and how much they cost
  • Understanding rental contracts, and how to check your tenancy agreement

Click here for a preview of this fantastic guide!

Guide to Renting in London
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