I’m buying my first home, when should I give notice on my rented property?

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Residential Property on Friday, June 11th, 2021

Once you’ve had your offer accepted on the property you’re planning to buy, it can be tempting to think about giving notice to your landlord. However, as you’re probably aware, things don’t always go as smoothly as we’d all like when it comes to buying and selling properties.

Once you’ve given notice to your landlord, if there are delays in your purchase you could find yourself having to move out of your rented property, even if you can’t yet move into your new home. So, it pays to discuss the situation with us, so that we can work through your options with you. 


Ending a tenancy

Generally, you can’t end a fixed-term tenancy unless your landlord agrees, or you have a break clause that allows you to end your agreement. Your tenancy will usually be for a fixed term of 6 or 12 months. So, your first step should be to check out the terms in your rental agreement.

Then it makes sense to talk to your landlord and explain your position and see if you can agree an end date that works for both sides. With the rental market currently buoyant, your landlord will be keen to start the process of finding a new tenant, so offering to let your landlord show prospective new tenants round during the last month of your tenancy could be a helpful move.

If your landlord agrees to surrender the tenancy early, make sure you get this in writing. If you have any problems or concerns, we can review your tenancy agreement with you, explain your obligations and rights, and suggest a plan of action. 


Be aware of the nature of chains

Being able to complete on your property often relies on other property transactions that form part of your chain going smoothly and according to plan. There can be unforeseen problems and chains can sometimes break down. Either party to the deal can withdraw from a sale any time up until exchange of contracts, meaning that the chain could be broken and everyone’s move put on hold. You could be left in a difficult position if you’ve served notice on the property you’re renting. 


Negotiating a suitable completion date

As with a lot of things in life, negotiation is often the key to finding a solution. We can speak to the seller’s solicitor with a view to arranging a completion date that enables you to provide the required notice period in accordance with the terms of your tenancy agreement or the notice period agreed following discussions with your Landlord, so that you can serve notice once your purchase is legally binding, which is once contracts have been exchanged. 

It’s very common to have a week or two between exchange and completion, as this time gives both parties breathing space to plan their move, and arrange services like broadband connection, electricity and gas and Council Tax. 

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