How do I mutually end an AST mid-tenancy?

Question

My tenant has had a promotion and has got to move abroad for the role. She's been a great tenant, and I'll be sorry to see her go, but my property lets really quickly so I am not too concerned about finding someone new. Is there an easy way to let her walk away mid tenancy?

Answer

Sometimes a situation arises where it is best for both parties, you and your tenant, to dissolve the tenancy agreement and go your separate ways.

If you and your tenant mutually agree to end the AST contract, you can do so by issuing a Deed of Surrender. This legally binding document states that both parties have voluntarily agreed to bring the tenancy to an end – ‘surrendered’ it – and once it has been completed all obligations and rights under the tenancy cease. There is no legal obligation to have your signatures witnessed, however in order to prevent any debate, it is good practice.

Your tenant would be required to undertake all the standard end of tenancy procedures, return all your keys and remove their belongings etc, and you as the landlord would regain complete control of your property.

Until both parties have signed the agreement, the tenant has a full liability to pay the rent of the property, and you as a landlord still must maintain the safety of the property and comply with any legislative requirements – gas safety certification etc.

Should your tenant fail to hand back possession of your property, you would then be required to obtain a court order to evict the tenant as a trespasser. However, be sure to remember that despite being in possession of the Deed of Surrender you are not permitted to harass the tenant to try and move them on from your property.


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