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Information for Private Sector Tenants and Landlords

At the end of the tenancy

Tenancy agreements can be complicated and confusing. It is important that tenancy agreements are read through and understood before signing. Tenants need to understand what happens at the end of the fixed period contained in any agreement. Once the agreement has been signed for a fixed period the tenant is agreeing to live there for that period and to pay the landlord the agreed amount of rent.  If a tenant wishes to leave their tenancy early this may prove difficult. Shelter provides advice on what to do if a tenant wants to leave their tenancy early.

A landlord is required to serve a tenant with a correct legal notice in order to end a tenancy. It is a criminal offence for a landlord or an agent to unlawfully evict a residential occupier and offenders can face substantial fines or even imprisonment. A residential occupier can only be evicted by the County Court Bailiff enforcing a possession order. Failure to follow the legal procedure is a criminal offence, and the local authority can prosecute if a tenant reports they have been unlawfully evicted and there is sufficient evidence to support this claim.

If a tenant has received a notice to quit from a landlord it is important that they speak to Homes Direct at an early stage who can give advice on housing options. If a tenant receives a notice to quit and do not have anywhere else to move into once it expires a tenant is not required to leave the property until a Possession Order has been sought by the landlord through the County Court.  A tenant can not be evicted from a property other than by a County Court appointed Bailiff.

If a tenant decides to leave the property without being properly evicted with a Possession Order in place they may be considered to be intentionally homeless as they have a legal right to remain in the property until that order is in place and enforced.

Shelter provides advice for a tenant if a landlord issues them with a notice to quit.