An early departure

Our lawyer Fiona McNulty looks at the legal issues of terminating a tenancy agreement ahead of the agreed fixed term
Breaking a tenancy agreement cartoon
© Malcolm Willett (www.willett-ink.co.uk)
Question: Having just been made redundant, I have no money. Does this give me, as a tenant, the right to terminate my lease earlier than anticipated in the lease itself?

Answer: The short answer is, it depends on the terms of the tenancy agreement.

However, if you are talking about a standard, residential, assured shorthold tenancy agreement, then it seems very unlikely that a tenant’s redundancy will have any effect at all, and you will have to pay your rent regardless.

Most tenancy agreements are for an initial fixed period. During that time the tenant cannot end the agreement, and the landlord can only end it in very limited circumstances, such as for non-payment of rent, and even then an order from the county court is required.

The tenant is normally only free to leave at the end of the agreed initial fixed term, and the landlord can bring the tenancy to an end at this point if the appropriate notice has been served at least two months before the end of the fixed term.

If the tenant remains in occupation after this date they are likely to be a statutory periodic tenant, under the same terms as the original agreement, running from month to month.

Occasionally, a lease may contain special provisions, allowing a landlord or tenant to break the lease early in certain circumstances. You would need to review the terms of your particular lease.

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If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the property team at Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons Solicitors www.ttuk.com.


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