Escaping your tenancy agreement

You can't end a fixed-term tenancy early unless your landlord agrees or you have a break clause that allows you to end your agreement.

Student landlords or their agents will usually agree to you surrending the tenancy agreement if you find a replacement tenant to assume your position on the tenancy until the end of the agreement. There are usually change of contract fees imposed by an agent in this situation.

Student Advice operates a housing list to assist with the finding of a replacement tenant - contact us for more information.

Fixed-term tenancies

If you're a student tenant your tenancy agreement or contract is usually for a fixed term of 12 months with 2 months half summer rent.

If your fixed term has ended, you haven't signed a new agreement, but you are still living in the property, you probably have a 'periodic' tenancy and can usually give notice to leave.

Ending a tenancy before the fixed term ends

You can't end a tenancy agreement before the fixed term ends unless either of the following apply:

  • you have a break clause in your tenancy agreement that lets you give notice to end the agreement early, or
  • your landlord agrees to you leaving the tenancy (known as 'surrendering')

If you surrender the tenancy, get your landlord's agreement in writing if possible to avoid disputes later. Student landlords or their agents will usually agree to you surrending the tenancy agreement if you find a replacement tenant to assume your position on the tenancy until the end of the agreement. There are usually change of contract fees imposed by an agent in this situation.

Leaving without giving notice

Leaving before the fixed term ends without giving notice and without the landlord agreeing is known as 'abandonment'. It doesn't end your agreement and you must still pay rent.

Abandonment includes:

  •  posting the keys through the letterbox
  •  leaving and not going back
  •  just telling the landlord that you're leaving

Your landlord can charge you rent until your tenancy agreement ends. If you don't pay, your landlord can apply for a court order to:

  •  make you pay what you owe
  •  get the property back (take possession)

If you've abandoned a tenancy or have rent arrears it can be harder to be accepted into tenancy agreements in the future. 

Leaving early if you have a joint tenancy

Most students with flatmates in private rented accommodation in Cardiff will have a 'joint tenancy'. You're a joint tenant if there's more than one name on the tenancy agreement.

If you want to leave you must all agree to a replacement tenant or a collective end the tenancy. You can do the following:

  • agree to the replacement of one tenant with another
  • agree with the landlord to surrender the entire tenancy agreement
  • give the required notice if there's a break clause

Leaving at the end of your fixed term

You can normally leave on the last day of your fixed-term agreement without giving your landlord notice.

Check to see if your tenancy agreement says you must give notice and how much you must give. You must give notice if it says something like:

  • you must tell your landlord if you plan to leave on the last day
  • when the fixed term expires the tenancy will continue as a periodic tenancy

You should let your landlord know what you plan to do to avoid disputes.