Here is a blog clinic quesiton from Melanie who is a tenant:
Can you leave at end of fixed 12 months assured shorthold tenancy agreement? Do you have to give 1 months notice to say that you are leaving on the expiry date or can yoy leave without notice?
This is a good question and there is a difference of opinion about it. My view, backed up by the OFTs report on unfair terms in tenancy agreements, is that no, the tenant does not have to give notice.
However if he stays just one day after the end of the fixed term, then a periodic tenancy will be created and he (or she) will have to give the relevant notice period – usually one month if it is a monthly rent.
Landlords get very annoyed about this. With reason, as if the tenant is leaving they need to arrange for a checkout meeting and to start advertising for new tenants. However they don’t want to do this (as it will cost them) if the tenant is staying on.
I have a clause in my tenancy agreements requiring tenants to let landlords know whether they are leaving or not within 14 days of the end of the fixed term, on the basis that it is information rather than formal notice to leave. As tenants cannot be required to do this, clauses requesting it are likley to be void under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.
I wrote about it here. I am still not entirely sure if it is valid or not. Still, most people are reasonable and will not want to be obstructive and inconvenience their landlord, and so will keep them informed of their intentions.
Others won’t. In my view there is little a landlord can do about it if his tenant pops off at the end of the fixed term without warning. But you may have a different view.