5. Ending a letting

How to end an excluded tenancy or licence

If your lodger is an excluded occupier, you only need to give them ‘reasonable notice’ to quit.

Usually this means the length of the rental payment period – so if your lodger pays rent weekly, you need to give 1 week’s notice. The notice doesn’t have to be in writing.

You can then change the locks on your lodger’s rooms, even if they’ve left their belongings there. You must give their belongings back to them.

How to end a non-excluded tenancy or licence

If your lodger is an occupier with basic protection, you must serve them a written ‘notice to quit’. The notice period will depend on the tenancy or agreement, but is often at least 4 weeks.

If your lodger doesn’t leave, you’ll need to get a court order to evict them.

Your lodger ends the tenancy

Your lodger can end the tenancy by giving you notice. They can’t do this during the fixed term of the tenancy, unless there’s a break clause.

The amount of notice they need to give depends on the tenancy agreement, if there is one. Otherwise, it’s usually at least 4 weeks (if they pay weekly) or 1 month (if they pay monthly).

You and your tenant can end a tenancy at any time if you both agree.

Change of ownership

If you stop living in your home, the tenants can still stay there, but their tenancy type may change to reflect that you no longer live there.

If you sell your home and the new owner plans to live in the property as a resident landlord, they must:

  • give notice to a tenant within 28 days that they intend to live there
  • move in within 6 months of the sale

Until the new owner moves in, tenants will have more protection through tenancy laws, because during this time there’s no resident landlord. Their rights will depend on when they moved in. Find out about tenants’ rights in ‘Private renting: tenancy agreements’.

If you die, a tenancy will usually continue as though you were still resident, until someone else takes ownership.