Can I End a Fixed-Term Tenancy Early?

18 April 2023
If you rent a property, you are probably familiar with the term “fixed-term tenancy”. This is an agreement that presents your legal rights and responsibilities as a tenant, and states how long you will rent the property for i.e. a start and end date. The landlord or lady can decide if they would like to renew the tenancy agreement once the fix term has ended.
Image fixed term tenancy

What Happens at the End of a Fixed-Term Tenancy?

Your landlord will likely contact you about what you want to do when the fixed term ends. Bo6h parties should review the tenancy agreement to determine what steps should be taken.There are three options available to you and your landlord when your fixed-term comes to an end. You can:

  • Move out, in which case you should give notice in writing and in the required amount of time
  • Let it become a rolling/periodic tenancy, which means it will continue on a month-to-month basis with the same terms and conditions as the fixed-term tenancy
  • Start a new fixed term by signing a renewal agreement, but do not feel pressured into doing so

The end of a fixed-term tenancy can be a complex and sometimes stressful time for both tenants and landlords. By understanding the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement and knowing what steps need to be taken, both parties can ensure a smooth transition.

Can a Tenant Terminate a Fixed-Term Tenancy?

Many tenants find themselves in a situation where they would like to move out before the fixed-term tenancy agreement has come to an end; perhaps they are struggling to keep up with the rent and want to downsize, or maybe they need to relocate for work. If you are in a position where you would like to move out but your fixed-term tenancy hasn’t ended, you are likely wondering what your options are. 

You are only able to end your fixed-term tenancy if your agreement says you can, which is called a “break clause”. So, start by reviewing your tenancy agreement and look for a break clause. A break clause typically allows either the tenant or the landlord to give notice to end the tenancy before the end of the fixed term, as long as certain conditions are met. For example, a break clause may require the tenant to give a minimum of two months' notice in writing, or it may only be exercisable after a certain period of time has passed. It's important to read the break clause carefully and make sure you understand the conditions that must be met in order to exercise it.

What if There Is No Break Clause?

If your tenancy agreement does not have a break clause, you may still be able to end your tenancy early by negotiating with your landlord. Depending on the reason for your early termination and the landlord's willingness to cooperate, you may be able to come to a mutual agreement that works for both parties. For example, if you're moving for a new job, you could offer to help the landlord find a new tenant to take over the lease. This could involve advertising the property, showing it to potential tenants, and even covering the cost of any advertising fees or tenant screening costs.

Alternatively, you could offer to pay a fee or penalty for ending the tenancy early. This would compensate the landlord for the costs associated with finding a new tenant or potentially losing rental income while the property is vacant. However, keep in mind that the landlord is not obligated to agree to any of these terms, and may choose to hold you to the terms of the tenancy agreement. It's always best to approach negotiations in a respectful and professional manner, and be prepared to provide evidence to support your request for early termination.

While ending a fixed-term tenancy early can be a challenge, there are options available to tenants who find themselves in this situation. By understanding your rights and obligations as a tenant, and approaching negotiations in a professional and respectful manner, you can make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. 

If you require legal advice as a landlord, our experienced team can work alongside you to handle residential tenancies and lease issues, including drafting the agreements, terminating tenancies and renewing tenancies. Please get in touch at your earliest convenience for more information.