Here is a question to the blog clinic from Laura who is a tenant
Please help, my landlord will not let me “leave” the house I am not living in.
I have moved out because I have a new job several miles away. I shared the house with three other people, we all signed the same 12 month contract which has now overrun into a rolling month by month contract (sorry I don’t know the correct term).
I gave the landlord notice as per our contract but he told me that unless everyone gave notice I would have to find someone else to take my place.
I found someone but he could not move in because he needed a guarantor, my former housemates then found someone else who physically moved in for a month did not pay any rent and moved out again without signing any contract when he found out that the landlord wanted to reference her. As I am typing my old room is still empty.
My former housemates have told me that the landlord is chasing them for my share of the rent and they are putting pressure on me to pay, which I cannot afford because I am paying rent for another place. Apparently I am still named as a tenant as well.
I have also been told that I am not entitled to my share of the deposit because it was paid by all of us and not individually (we paid an equal share).
The landlord has made no effort to find another person for the spare room, and it doesn’t seem right that it is down to me to find a replacement tenant when I am living several miles away.
How can I get myself out of this situation?
If the fixed term of the tenancy has ended and you are in a periodic tenancy (the ‘proper’ name for a rolling tenancy), then the answer is quite easy.
You should serve a tenants’ notice to quit. This does not need to be in any specific format , but should give your landlord formal notice to end the tenancy. The notice period should be at least one ‘period’ of the tenancy (i.e. if it is a monthly periodic tenancy you need to give at least one months notice) and the notice period you give should end at the end of the period.
So if your tenancy runs from the 3rd day of the month to the 2nd, you give notice to the next 2nd day of the month after one month after you serve the notice on your landlord. Which will be any time between one and two months, depending when in the month you serve it.
Under the common law, one of joint tenants can end a tenancy by a tenants notice to quit if the tenancy is a periodic one. So the effect of your notice will be to end the tenancy for everyone at the end of your notice period.
If the other tenants stay on then a new tenancy will be created between them and the landlord, but the tenancy which YOU were a part of will have ended. You cannot therefore be liable for any more rent after your notice has expired. (Note that it is less easy to end your tenancy if your fixed term has not ended yet).
You should also be able to claim your deposit back as the tenancy will have ended – do any readers have any suggestions on the best way to do this?