Here is a question to the blog clinic from Jayne (not her real name):
I have moved into a student rented property.I paid the rent for the first installment. I did not sign any contracts and I did not pay a deposit. I stayed for the time that I had paid for.
Can I leave the property whenever I want? I have left before the other payment was due. Do I still have to pay the landlord anything because of the ‘verbal contract’?
It is not necessary to have a written agreement to create a proper tenancy. If you just go in and start paying rent of, say, £400 per month, then you will have a ‘periodic’ monthly tenancy at a rent of £400 per month.
In order to end the tenancy you need to give notice, and you need to give notice of either 28 days (for a weekly tenancy) or one month (for a monthly tenancy) AND that notice period must be for a complete month ending at the end of the ‘period’.
So, if you moved in on 4 Jan then the monthly period will go from the 4th day in the month to the 3rd. So the 3rd day in the month is the last day of the period. So your notice end date (in this case) will be the next 3rd day in the month after one month.
So if you give notice on 2 March your notice must end on 3 April. If you give notice on 5th March, your notice period should end on 3 May.
If you just move out, then you will owe the landlord rent ‘in lieu of notice’ up to the next day when your notice should have ended had you served one. So in the cases above, if you move out on 2 March you will owe rent to 3 April, if you move out on 5 March you will owe rent to 3 May.
That is if you tell the landlord you are going. If you say nothing and he does not know that you have gone, then you could end up owing him rent for a much longer period. Because so far as he was aware you were still living there.