Fixed term v periodic tenancy

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When your tenant’s contract is coming to an end, should you let them roll on to a periodic (month by month or week by week contract) or should you issue them with a new AST?

If you do nothing, their tenancy will automatically become periodic, which means that all the terms and conditions of the original contract will continue to apply. If you want them to leave, you’ll have to give them two months’ notice.

This is by far the easiest option because you don’t have to re-issue any paperwork and you don’t have to re-protect the tenant’s deposit. Also you have the flexibility to raise the rent at any time, or to end the tenancy at any point, subject to giving them two months’ written notice.

However, the tenants also have the freedom to leave at any point and they only have to give you one month’s notice, or two months if this was stated in your original contract. Some landlords prefer to issue a new AST to lock their tenants into another fixed term.

If you do let your tenancy become periodic, make sure that you check that the original contract has not become obsolete due to new landlord and tenant laws, otherwise you won’t be able to rely on it in the future.

Also, be aware that if the tenant on a statutory periodic contract leaves during their notice period, the landlord, not the tenant, will become responsible for paying council tax on the property from the day they leave. You can avoid this by issuing a contractual periodic agreement, or by stating in the original AST that the tenancy will become a contractual periodic tenancy at the end of the term.

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