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Ending a tenancy

Once you're ready to end your tenancy you have certain responsibilities to make sure the process goes smoothly.

These include giving enough notice to your landlord, paying off any outstanding bills and making sure the property is clean when you leave it.

Giving notice

If you want to move out of rented accommodation, you have to let your landlord know in advance. This is called giving notice.

If you have an assured or short assured tenancy, your tenancy agreement should tell you how much notice you have to give before moving out. Usually you'll have to give one or two months' notice.

If you have a private residential tenancy (one that started on or after 1 December 2017), the maximum notice your landlord is allowed to ask you to give is 28 days.

If you and your landlord want to agree that you'll give more than 28 days' notice you can, but your landlord can only ask you to agree to this after your tenancy has started and your agreement must be given freely without any pressure from your landlord.

If you're a joint tenant and you want to end the tenancy, you cannot do this alone. You must get the other joint tenants' permission, because this will end the tenancy for everyone.

Paying bills and redirecting post

It will probably be your responsibility to pay for your utilities (like gas and electricity) and council tax for the entire time you're living at the property, unless they're included as part of the rest.

Make sure you tell all the utility companies that you're leaving, and send them meter readings so they can send you a final bill.

Do not ask the utility companies to disconnect your gas or electricity services. Your landlord might have to pay a fee to get them reconnected and might take the money out of your deposit.

You should also tell the council the date you're moving out. This will make sure you aren't charged too much council tax.

You may want to set up a redirect of post to your new address. This normally takes a week or so to set up, so tell Royal Mail in advance.

Cleaning up and inventory

Make sure that you leave the property in a clean and tidy state. You may want to have it professionally cleaned.

Check to see if your tenancy agreement says anything about what you have to do to the property when you leave (such as cleaning the windows).

It is a good idea to take photos of the property on the day you leave, to show that you have left it in a decent state.

Go through the inventory you signed when you first moved in, and make sure you have not lost anything – if you have, you should replace it, unless you've already agreed something with the landlord.

Getting your deposit back

Once the tenancy has ended and you've moved out, the landlord has to return the deposit you paid at the start of the tenancy.

Your landlord must get in touch with the tenancy deposit scheme provider and ask for the deposit to be returned.

They will tell the provider how much of the deposit should go back to you and, if there are any repairs or cleaning work to be done, how much of it should go to the landlord to cover these costs.

The provider will then ask you if you agree with the amount to be returned to you. You have to write back within 30 working days to confirm whether you agree or disagree.

If you and your landlord have a disagreement over the deposit, you can contact the tenancy deposit scheme provider and ask for dispute resolution. The provider will then decide how the deposit will be split, depending on the evidence given.

If your landlord did not protect your deposit

Find out how to get compensation for an unprotected deposit on the Shelter Scotland website. 

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