UK Tenancy Advice: Restrictions on when you are allowed to move out?
August 15, 2014 5:25 AM   Subscribe

We are thinking of moving out of our London flat, ideally in November. But in our "Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement for letting a residential dwelling" they seem to specify that we can't move out around Christmas even if we give the required 2 months notice. Is this legal in UK? Does this odd restriction infringe our tenancy rights?

The exact clause is:

"Allow two months notice to be conveyed on the 21st day of the two-month notice period prior to leaving the Tenancy. Notice not to be given in the months of September, October, November to vacate between 1st November and 31st January"


The rental is with company that manages a whole load of properties.

We have been in the flat for 2.5 years now but they make us sign a new 12 month Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement every year. So that it I guess it doesn't fall into an ongoing tenancy arrangement where in which it is usually easier to move out I think. We last signed a 12 month lease in May 2014.
posted by mary8nne to Law & Government (5 answers total)
You can of course move out whenever you want, the issue is how long you have to pay rent for.

The restriction is to maximise their income (difficult to relet over Christmas). Whether it is enforceable or not requires legal advice. Preventing you from moving out without penalty for 3 months of the year strikes me as unreasonable - and hence unenforceable - but IANAL (and you did sign the agreement).

You could see the citizens advice bureau in the first instance for free general advice and a lawyers's letter might be all that is required. Of course the company may then get shirty about returning your deposit.
posted by epo at 5:38 AM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I second the advice to ask the Citizen's Advice Bureau about this.
posted by Drexen at 6:02 AM on August 15, 2014

I think they're saying you have to give notice before September 1st if you're planning to move out in November, December, and January. No idea whether it's enforceable, but if you're quite sure you're going to be moving it seems like you could give notice in August that you're moving in November.

Also, what on earth does "Allow two months notice to be conveyed on the 21st day of the two-month notice period prior to leaving the Tenancy" mean? I suspect it means "on or before the 21st day of the calendar month, at least two months before your departure date," but it's not an easy sentence to understand.
posted by mskyle at 6:14 AM on August 15, 2014

Response by poster: Well yeah I mean Move out and not be liable to pay rent. Clearly one can technically "move out" at any time without giving notice. But the vacating tenant might have to pay rent until the end of the contracted term.

I think the owner/agency want to say the tenant can't move out at all during November, December or January (and not pay penalties / be on the hook for the rent during that period).

We called the Citizens Advice Bureau but they don't give advice over the phone.

Shelter website had some advice.

It seems that actually the owner/agency are not required by law to offer any break options during a fixed term lease. Hence these odd restrictions are probably quite legally enforceable. - ie that we can move out with 2 months notice at some times is more than is required by law.
posted by mary8nne at 6:50 AM on August 15, 2014

Agreed with mskyle here. I'm pretty sure it says that if you're giving them notice that you're vacating any time between November and January, you have to do it before the beginning of September. They're not saying you can't move out at all during the holidays, just that you need to give them more advance warning than usual.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 3:42 PM on August 17, 2014

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