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Tenant guide: How to end a tenancy with a valid notice to quit

tenant signing a notice to quit
Dear Landlord, I am writing to provide notice to quit…

What should a tenant do if they want to end their tenancy and move somewhere else, ie serve a validnotice to quit?

It’s actually fairly straightforward to do, and there isn’t a special form. Tenants just need to make sure they give enough notice. I explain more below and provide standard templates to adapt.

>> Related Post: A tenant’s guide to renting

What is a notice to quit?

If a tenant wants to end a tenancy agreement, provided it’s outside of the initial fixed term tenancy or is in accordance with a break clause, they can do this by serving a notice to quit their landlord.

A notice to quit is usually a letter that a tenant sends the landlord to give notice they want to end the tenancy agreement. This is also called “giving notice”.

How much notice does a tenant need to give to end a tenancy?

Tenants need to tell landlords in formally if they want to end a tenancy agreement. It needs to be in writing, and must be for the correct period. Do allow plenty of time to allow the notice to be served.

Some tenancy agreements do allow tenants to serve notice by email, but I recommend that tenants send a hard copy by post at least 2 working days before the deadline before the start of the next rental period, and a copy by email.

Usually tenancies run on a calendar month basis, which means that tenants should give at least one calendar month’s written notice to the landlord. If the tenancy runs on a weekly basis, the tenant should give 4 weeks’ notice.

What is a rental period?

The rental period is the period between rent due dates. Most tenancy agreements now have rent payable on the same date each calendar month. If the tenancy agreement starts on the 26th of the month, with rent payable on or before the 26th of each month, the start of each rental period will be the 26th and the end of the rental period will be the 25th.

When does the notice to quit need to end?

The notice to quit needs to end on or before the end of the rental period. So, if the end of a rental peirod is the 25th of each month, a tenant would need to give at least a calendar month’s notice to quit to end on or before the 25th.

However, if rent is payable each month, the rental period ends on every 25th, but the tenant serves the notice to quit on 28 January, one whole calendar month won’t have passed by the end of the tenancy period on 25 February. This means the notice to quit will have effect from 25 March, even though it’s a lot later than one calendar month from the date the notice is served on 28 January.

Add the time to allow service by post

Tenants also must allow extra time for service by post when calculating the calendar month to expire at the end of a rental period.

This is because the law deems the notice to be served the second day after it was posted, provided it was posted on a business day. If the second day is not a business day, it will be the next business day.

For instance, if the tenant posts the notice on a Thursday, two days later would be a Saturday. However, as Saturday isn’t a working day, service will be deemed to take place on the Monday.

Where should the tenant send the notice to quit?

Under Section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, landlords in England and Wales must provide to tenants with an address in England and Wales to which tenants can send notices.

This will usually be in the tenancy agreement, and may be the address of the letting agent (if the landlord has one).

However, sometimes a landlord may have changed their address and/or letting agent, and will have served a Section 48 notice to change their address for service.

In any event, it’s important to send the notice to quit to the last address for service provided by the landlrod. Some tenancy agreements do allow service by email, so it’s worth checking, but I’d always send a hard copy as well.

Template notices to quit for tenant to give landlord

Here are some examples of different notices to quit that tenants can adapt to their own circumstances to terminate their tenancy agreements. If you’re not sure how to adapt the template, contact Shelter or Citizen’s Advice for advice that fits your circumstances. (I’m not permitted to give individual advice.)

Template notice to quit during a periodic tenancy

Here is a template notice to quit which tenants can adapt and send to their landlord when they want to end a periodic tenancy:

[Date]

Dear [Landlord name]

NOTICE TO QUIT

I am writing to provide you with due written notice to end the tenancy on [date]. This date is the end of the next complete rental period of my tenancy, and is more than [one calendar month] from the date of the service of this notice to you.

Please could you arrange for someone to be at the property on the day I move out [date – can be earlier than the termination date] to collect my keys and [check the property/carry out a check out inventory].

Once that has taken place, please contact [name of deposit scheme] to arrange for the prompt release of my deposit to me.

Please confirm receipt of this letter.

Yours sincerely

[Name]

Sample notice to quit at the end of a fixed term tenancy

Here is a template notice to quit which tenants can adapt and send to their landlord when they want to end a tenancy at the end of the fixed term.

[Date]

Dear [Landlord name]

NOTICE TO QUIT

I am writing to provide you with written notice to end the tenancy on [date]. This date is the end of the current fixed term of my tenancy, and is more than [one calendar month] from the date of the service of this notice to you.

Please could you arrange for someone to be at the property on the day I move out [date – can be earlier than the termination date] to collect my keys and [check the property/carry out a check out inventory].

Once that has taken place, please contact [name of deposit scheme] to arrange for the prompt release of my deposit to me.

Please confirm receipt of this letter.

Yours sincerely

[Name]

Example of notice to quit during fixed term with break clause

Here is a template notice to quit which tenants can adapt and send to their landlord when they want to end during a fixed term with a break clause:

[Date]

Dear [Landlord name]

NOTICE TO QUIT

I am writing to provide you with due written notice to end the tenancy on [date]. This date is the end of the next complete period of my tenancy, and is more than [one calendar month] from the date of the service of this notice to you, and is in accordance with the break clause in our tenancy agreement.

Please could you arrange for someone to be at the property on the day I move out [date – can be earlier than the termination date] to collect my keys and [check the property/carry out a check out inventory].

Once that has taken place, please contact [name of deposit scheme] to arrange for the prompt release of my deposit to me.

Please confirm receipt of this letter.

Yours sincerely

[Name]

tenant guide on how to end tenancy with a valid notice to quit
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