Surrendering a Tenancy Agreement by Mutual Consent
It’s possible to end a tenancy in two ways. You can, for instance, serve notice on the tenant, or vice versa. Then again, the tenant can move out by mutual agreement.
In the case of the first scenario it can get tricky. That’s because only one person wants to end the ongoing agreement. As a result, either party must stick to the rules laid out in the Tenancy Agreement. This will be around how much notice is expected and what is expected on ‘moving out day,’ including the state the flat should be left in (ie, habitable).
In the case of the second scenario, this is known as ‘express surrender’ ie both parties agree in writing to end the tenancy. If the tenant has left the property and not paid rent, then this is known as ‘implied surrender.’
Why a Mutual Surrender?
The type of reasons that would come under a ‘mutual surrender’ include the tenant wanting to move out before the end of the fixed term, or the landlord needing the flat back before then. Or, the lease is now periodic and the parties are ending the tenancy before a day on which the rent is due.
Why an Express Surrender?
An express surrender where both parties agree, should always be put into writing and signed. This is known as a Written Express Surrender of Tenancy and must be witnessed by an ‘outsider.’
Why an Implied Surrender?
An implied surrender is appropriate when both the tenant and landlord want to end the Tenancy Agreement but a written agreement isn’t possible. This is also referred to as ‘operation of law.’
If the tenant is no longer living at the property ie has disappeared for weeks without paying rent, then this is referred to as an ‘abandonment.’ Obviously, this is financially similar to a void period as far as the landlord is concerned and he or she will want to relet it as quickly as possible. But, what if the tenant has merely gone on a long vacation and forgot to inform the landlord? If the landlord relets the property in the interim there will be trouble when the first tenant arrives home from holiday!
If a landlord suspects a tenant has moved out without informing them and that tenant is impossible to get hold of, then there are two ways to terminate the tenancy. These are:
- Serving a Section 21 or Section 8 Eviction Notice
- Using the legal term ‘Implied Surrender’
A lack of rent from the tenant and the fact the landlord has changed the locks and re-let it to another tenant certainly makes it appear that both parties have assumed the tenancy has come to an end.
Landlords Must Be ‘Whiter Than White’
Regardless of whether the tenancy is coming to an end via eviction or implied surrender, the landlord must always appear to be ‘in the clear.’ This means not harassing or hurrying the tenant in any way and making every reasonable effort possible to contact the tenant.
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