Writing an end of tenancy letter for a property in London
There are many reasons for terminating the tenancy of a property. Some will pass on good terms, and others won’t be quite so amicable. However it manifests, there’s a right and a wrong way to carry out proceedings. Part of the procedure is how you give your tenants notice, delivering the letter and making sure everything is in order with your London property.
Around 10% of tenancies are ended by the landlord, and it’s usually for non-payment of rent. Where rent arrears are the reason for the termination, then it’s more likely a case for an eviction notice to be served (Section 8).
This guide investigates the reasons this may happen, the items that need to be included in your letter, and a sample letter giving notice to your tenant in London.
Why end a tenancy agreement?
Unless outlined in the agreement, there isn’t an official end-date to a tenancy. The tenancy will continue rolling. An end-date on a tenancy agreement merely dictates when the tenancy can be terminated, not that it will be.
Main reasons for a landlord ending a tenancy agreement is often down to poor tenant behaviour. After all, a landlord will want to take care of a good tenant. Main offenders are rent arrears or the tenant who repeatedly breaks the rules and causes problems. Depending on the reason, will dictate how you deal with the situation and remove your tenant.
Evictions tend to be more problematic than simply ending a tenancy that has come to the end of the agreement term. Depending on your tenant, you should have an idea which is the sensible route to take.
How to end a tenancy
The different legal methods of ending a tenancy agreement are as follows:
Serving a possession order (Section 21 Notice)
This is the most common method of ending an assured shorthold tenancy. The term, possession, in this instance, simply stands for the repossession of the property by the landlord.
The tenant must be given the due amount of notice, usually 2 months, and the landlord doesn’t have to supply a reason for the termination.
This would be the most typical reason to send an apartment rental termination letter in London.
In this case, the tenant informs the landlord that they will be leaving on a given date—surrendering notice or notice to quit. The tenant is only required to provide one month’s notice unless a different period was originally outlined in the tenancy agreement.
A mutual agreement can be made at any point during the tenancy, from one day after signing, to a day before the agreement expires. The terms are formed by mutual arrangement outside the stipulation of the original agreement.
Tenant eviction (Section 8 Notice)
A landlord must have suitable grounds to evict a tenant. This can often become a long and difficult process. Where a tenant chooses not to vacate the property, this can lead to court action with a judge making the final decision.
How much notice do you have to give?
The standard amount of due notice that a landlord must deliver to their tenant is 2 months. Your letter must include all relevant dates and should arrive with your tenants to cover the full term of notice.
What happens at the check-out or key handover?
You must organise a check-out for your tenant. The inventory featured in the agreement needs checking. Any items damaged or missing, and any damage to the property itself is accountable for by the tenant. This should be deducted from the deposit.
Be fair with your tenant, and make accommodations for normal wear and tear over time. You should understand what is considered abnormal wear and tear in London properties.
Take a full set of utility readings and request a final statement from each of the utility suppliers, showing a zero balance on all accounts.
How to handle the deposit
Not until after all financial obligations are settled and all outstanding payments made, do you have to return the deposit, however, you should return the money as soon as possible.
If the tenant writes to you requesting the deposit, you must reply in 10 days. If you are withholding any money, explain why and show proof of the matter in question.
A tenant can challenge your claims. If you can’t agree on the matter, then the deposit scheme’s dispute resolution service will decide on the final outcome.
Sample notice letter to tenant (to move out in London)
When it comes to writing a letter from landlord to tenant, ending a tenancy in a London property, the following sample includes all the required elements as approved by the National Landlords Association of the UK.
For the most up-to-date notes governing Section 21 always check the Government legislation.
Housing Act 1988, Section 21
Notice Requiring Possession
To: [name and address of tenant(s)]
From: [name and address of landlord]
I/we give you notice that, by virtue of Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, I/we require possession of the dwelling house known as:
[rented property address]
after: [required date of property vacation]
OR after the last day of the period of your tenancy which expires next after the end of two months from the date of service of this notice to you.
Signed: [landlord signature]
Name: [landlord name]
Information for tenants:
If the tenant or licensee does not leave the dwelling, the landlord or licensor must get an order for possession from the court before the tenant or licensee can lawfully be evicted. The landlord or licensor cannot apply for such an order before the notice to quit or notice to determine has run out.
A tenant or licensee who does not know if he has any right to remain in possession after a notice to quit or notice to determine runs out can obtain advice from a solicitor. Help with all or part of the cost of legal advice and assistance may be available under the Legal Aid Scheme. He should also be able to obtain information from a Citizens’ Advice Bureau, a Housing Aid Centre or a rent ofﬁcer.
Sample tenancy surrender letter for properties in London
More often than not, it’s the tenants who are the party to end a tenancy agreement. The tenancy contract cancellation letter that they should send to their landlord isn’t dissimilar to the Section 21 Notice. When a tenant chooses to give notice or hand over their tenancy resignation letter, it follows the same format in London as it would in the rest of the country.
To create a sample letter of termination of the tenancy agreement by the tenant, it must contain the same landlord, tenant and property details, the date of property vacation. This time, however, it will be signed and dated by the tenant as opposed to the landlord.
The Landlord: [landlord name]
Of: [landlord home address]
The Tenant: [tenant name]
The Property: [rented property]
The Tenancy: Periodic Tenancy Agreement
An assured tenancy of the property created by a Tenancy Agreement dated: [agreement commencement date] which changed into a Periodic Tenancy Agreement on [expiration date of tenancy agreement] automatically at the end of the fixed six months term agreement made between The Landlord and The Tenant.
The tenant surrenders and releases to the Landlord all his interest in the property with vacant possession.
Tenant name: [printed]
Tenant signature: [signature]
Finally, be sure to keep a record of every step of the process
Keeping thorough records is a must. You never know when any unforeseen problems could occur and the seemingly simple process is thrown into disarray. If third parties need to be involved in resolving the situation, you’ll need as much proof of action and correspondence as possible.
Always use a tracked postal service. Create a paper trail to back up everything you may later need to depend on.
Ending a tenancy with no obviously problematic issues should be a simple process. With a little care and attention to your legal obligations, you should be able to regain control of your property without any real problems.