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What happens at the end of my fixed-term tenancy?

Posted on 2015-09-10

When approaching the end of your fixed-term tenancy, you’ll have a number of options. Firstly, you may want to leave the property, and if you do, you’ll most likely have to give your landlord or letting agent notice that you wish to do so. The specifics surrounding this process, and indeed the notice period you need to give, should be outlined in your tenancy agreement.

However, you may also find that your agreement says you can simply leave on the last day of your fixed-term tenancy without having to give any notice.

So what do you do if you wish to continue living in your current property? You’ll have two choices at this stage; you can either sign a new fixed-term agreement or you can continue your tenancy on a rolling monthly basis.

Signing up to a new fixed term agreement

If you want a new fixed-term tenancy then you need to ask your landlord or letting agent for a new agreement. It’s advisable to do this in writing and detail exactly how long you wish to stay on in the property – this is typically six or twelve months.

There are several advantages for tenants in choosing this option as, like your previous agreement, it can provide you with financial security in knowing exactly when and what your rental payments will be for the length of the contract.Furthermore, you’ll also give yourself the peace-of-mind of knowing that you have a guaranteed place to live during this time. 

What you should be aware of though is that your landlord may wish to increase the rent for the new agreement term and, what’s more, there may be renewal fees to pay. There are opportunities for you to negotiate with them though, or at least reach a compromise over the costs. This is because the overall expense of having to let the property again to somebody else could end up being much more costly for your landlord or letting agent in the long run.

You can find out more about dealing with rental increases here on Shelter’s website.

A rolling contract

This is where your tenancy rolls over on a monthly basis, or, in some cases, weekly. This is also known as a ‘periodic tenancy’ and it automatically starts when your original agreement expires and you don’t sign a new one, but you continue to live in the property.

Again though, this comes with both positives and negatives to take into consideration. One advantage is it offers you more flexibility for giving notice to move out of the property when you want to – without having to wait until the end of the fixed period. You also won’t face any potential renewal fees, which could be a considerable saving. On the other – more negative - hand, your landlord is within their rights to increase the rent during this time or give you notice to vacate the property if and when they want you to move out.

Whatever option you decide on, what’s important is clarity amongst all concerned parties about what your plans are. By making your intentions clear, you avoid confusion and miscommunication and it can make the whole process much more straightforward and easy to manage.

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