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How do I end the Tenancy Agreement?

This will depend on your agreement, however, if you have an AST, you may usually leave the property on the last day of the fixed term without giving any notice to the landlord, but if you stay just one day into the periodic term, then both you and the landlord are liable to give each other notice as set out in the tenancy agreement. This is usually at least 4 weeks or a calendar month depending on how often the rent is paid, for the tenant and a minimum of 2 months for the landlord.

During the periodic tenancy a landlord does not need any reason to terminate the tenancy. However, he should give notice by serving you with a Section 21 notice which will tell you of his intention to take possession of the property on a date not less than 2 months in the future. If you do not vacate, he can apply for accelerated possession proceedings at Court and unless it is shown that he has not protected your deposit, he will automatically be given possession. If you refuse to leave, the court baliffs can be asked to evict you.

During the fixed term of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) or during an Assured Tenancy, the landlord can only evict you if he you have breached the tenancy agreement and he has “grounds” to do so. He has to serve you with a “Section 8 notice to quit” (or “notice of possession”) in writing, stating the grounds he is seeking to evict you. If you do not agree with his grounds and decide to stay in the property, he may seek a possession order through the Court. You are entitled to defend this claim and may do so in writing and/or in person at Court.

There are 17 grounds in total. Grounds 1-8 are mandatory grounds in other words the court must give possession to a landlord if they are met and grounds 9-17 are down to the discretion of the court. The most common ground used in Court is rent arrears (Ground 8), others include damage to the property, anti-social behaviour and using the property for illegal purposes.

The landlord must serve notice seeking possession of the property on the tenant before starting court proceedings. The amount of notice he must give depends on the grounds:

Grounds 1,2,5,6,7,9 and 16 - 2 months notice

Grounds 3,4,8,10,11,12,13,15 & 17 - 2 weeks notice

Ground 14 –On service

There are 17 grounds in total. Grounds 1-8 are mandatory grounds in other words the court must give possession to a landlord if they are met and grounds 9-17 are down to the discretion of the court. The most common ground used in Court is rent arrears (Ground 8), others include damage to the property, anti-social behaviour and using the property for illegal purposes.

The landlord must serve notice seeking possession of the property on the tenant before starting court proceedings. The amount of notice he must give depends on the grounds:

Grounds 1,2,5,6,7,9 and 16 - 2 months notice

Grounds 3,4,8,10,11,12,13,15 & 17 - 2 weeks notice

Ground 14 –On service

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Grounds for ending a Tenancy Agreement

Mandatory Grounds

Ground 1 - the Landlord Residence Ground

If the property was the landlord’s only or principal home before the tenancy began, or it is needed to live in as their or their spouse’s only or principal home. A new landlord who bought the property during the tenancy cannot rely on this ground.

Ground 2 - the Mortgage Ground

Where the rental property is subject to a mortgage, which was granted before the tenancy started and the mortgage lender wants to sell it in vacant possession, normally to pay off mortgage arrears.

Ground 3 - the Holiday Let Ground

The tenancy is for a fixed term of not more than 8 months and at some time during the 12 months before the tenancy started, the property was let for a holiday.

Ground 4 - the Student Letting Ground

Allows a landlord, which is an educational institution, such as a university or college, to recover possession where the tenancy is a fixed term tenancy of not more than twelve months and during the twelve months prior to the tenancy the property was let to a student.

Ground 5 - the Religious Use Ground

The property is held for use by a minister of religion and he/she now requires the property to live in as a residence from which to perform their duties.

Ground 6 - the Redevelopment/Renovation Ground

When a landlord intends to demolish or redevelop the whole or a substantial part of the property and cannot do so with the tenant living there. This ground cannot be used when the landlord (or someone before them) bought the property with an existing tenant, or where the work does not require the tenant to move out. If a possession Order is made the landlord must pay the tenant's reasonable moving expenses.

Ground 7 - the Inheritance Ground

The former tenant, who must have had a contractual periodic tenancy or statutory periodic tenancy, has died in the 12 months before possession proceedings started and there is no one living there who has a right to succeed to the tenancy.

Ground 8 - the Arrears Ground

The tenant must owe at least 2 months rent if the tenancy is on a monthly basis, 8 weeks rent if it’s on a weekly basis, or 3 months rent more than 3 months in arrears if on a quarterly basis, both when the landlord gave notice seeking possession and at the date of the court hearing.

Discretionary Grounds

Ground 9 - the Alternative Accommodation Ground

There is suitable alternative accommodation available for the tenant, or will be when the court order takes effect. When considering if the accommodation is suitable, the Court would need to be satisfied the new property is of a similar type and price, give the same type of tenancy and would be equally convenient to the tenant's place of work. Where possession is ordered the landlord also has to pay the tenant's moving costs.

Ground 10 - the Poor Payer Ground

The tenant is behind with their rent, both when the landlord serves notice seeking possession and when court proceedings begin.

Ground 11 - the Late Payer Ground

The tenant is persistently late in paying the rent. This is usually relied on as a back up to grounds 8 and 10. There do not have to be arrears at the time of service of any notice, commencement of proceedings or the possession hearing as long as it can be established that the tenant has either failed to pay rent for an extended period or has been persistently late in paying rent.

Ground 12 - the General Breach Ground

The tenant has breached any of the terms of the tenancy agreement except the obligation to pay rent. As long as the agreement has been breached the Court can Order possession even if it has been rectified by the time of the possession hearing.

Ground 13 - the Tenant Damage Ground

The tenant has failed to look after, or has damaged the property or any common parts. This includes damage caused by anyone staying with tenant and would include damage caused in shared external hallways etc.

Ground 14 the Bad Behaviour Ground

The tenant or a person staying with or visiting them, causes or is likely to cause a nuisance to someone either living in or visiting the locality. Or they have been convicted of using the property for illegal or immoral purposes or have committed an arrestable offence in or near the property.

Ground 14A - the Domestic Violence Ground

When tenants are a married couple, civil partners or co-habitees and one of them leaves permanently because of domestic violence or the threat of domestic violence by the other towards them or any of their family living with them. This ground can only be used by landlords who are non-profit registered providers of social housing, registered social landlords or charitable housing trusts. Other landlords should use ground 12 or ground 14.

Ground 15 - the Furniture Damage Ground

Furniture in the property provided by the landlord as part of the tenancy, has been damaged by the tenant or any person staying with them.

Ground 16 - the Former Employee Ground

The property was let to an employee of the landlord, or a former landlord, and then ceases to be an employee of the landlord.

Ground 17 - the Lying Tenant Ground

The tenant gives a false statement to induce the landlord to enter into the tenancy or encourages someone else to do so. It is necessary to prove inducement, so the most obvious example would be where the tenant encouraged someone to give a false reference for them.

What happens next?

Your landlord must follow the correct procedures and if he does not, the court will NOT grant the order, even if the grounds are proved to be met. You can defend yourself at the hearing and would be wise to do so, if you think your landlord is at fault. Evidence is key here and you must ensure you have as much as possible. All your evidence will be taken into consideration by the court. However if the grounds being used are from the mandatory list, we need to warn you that there would need to be very serious evidence to prevent the judge from making the possession order.

If a possession order is granted, you must vacate the property by the date given, which in some circumstances can be immediately. If you fail to do so the landlord can ask the Court baliffs to evict you.