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Ending a Tenancy

5. Ending a Tenancy

This section covers what happens when an assured or an assured shorthold
tenancy ends, how the landlord or a tenant can terminate such a tenancy
and how to gain lawful possession of the premises. There are some
tenancies that are neither assured nor assured shorthold tenancies (for
example holiday lets, tenancies where the annual rent is over £25,000, or
student tenancies in university accommodation). These are a minority and
are dealt with briefly at the end of this chapter.

Ending a Rent Act tenancy is a complicated matter, and specialist legal
advice should be taken before making any decision or taking any action.
Bringing a Rent Act tenancy to an end and evicting the tenant can be a very
complex process, and is beyond the scope of this manual. If an application
fails or is struck out, the court may order a landlord to pay the tenant’s
legal costs in addition to their own. Some guidance is given at the end
of this chapter, but this chapter mainly concerns assured and assured
shorthold tenancies, governed by the Housing Act 1988.

For Housing Act 1988 tenancies, i.e. most tenancies in the private rented
sector, there are different methods of bringing possession proceedings
depending on whether the contract is an assured or an assured shorthold
tenancy. Every case is unique and the following can therefore only be a
rough guide.

The information in this chapter about terminating tenancies and eviction
is, inevitably, legalistic, but it is worth emphasising that at the end of
their agreements most tenants leave their property voluntarily and many
landlords experience no problems either moving into a new agreement or
getting possession of their property back. This chapter deals with:

• practical tips for a pain-free handover at the end of the
tenancy;

• what to do at the end of a tenancy if landlord and tenant want
it to continue;

• what landlords can do if the tenant wants to leave;

• what landlords can do if they want the tenant to leave;

• procedures when applying to the court for possession;

• applying to the court for arrears of rent.