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Ending a Tenancy (England) | England | Landlord Wants Tenant to Leave (England)

Notice of surrender or notice to quit

1 Jul 2021 | 3 comments

I am negotiating early termination of the contract with my tenant. He is not currently in the flat. He is abroad staying with his parents. He has been quite flaky about the terms and I am a point when I want to ask him to sign a deed of surrender when we reach an agreement.

  1. Is notice of surrender valid if it is signed abroad? He is a british citizen.
  2. The deed of surrender template does not seem to have any space to include additional conditions, plus it has to be signed as a deed. Is there a template for a letter of surrender that I could use?



  1. guildy

    A surrender during the term is technically the transferring of land from the tenant to the landlord for the remainder of the term. All transfers of land have to be made as a deed by law (except a tenancy for less than 3 years which is why most AST’s don’t have to be a deed).

    However, you are free to accept an invalid notice to quit which can just be an email from them (it will be invalid because it will expire during the term but this doesn’t matter if you accept it).

    In all reality, whatever you have in writing including email is totally irrelevant and only acts as a backup. What you essentially need are the keys. The tenant can offer keys back during the term and you’re free to accept or reject. If you accept, the tenancy is surrendered. There can be no “intention to return” because the keys have been returned so the tenancy is now at an end.

    Please also see here

  2. Olesya

    The tenant now told me that he lost his key. He has another copy that he is happy to return. He is happy for me to change the locks and pay for changing the locks. He cleared his belongings.

    Is there anything I can get to proce surrender in a situation where a key is lost (eg a statement confirming the terms, including that he happy for the locks to be changed) or do we have to sign a notice of surrender as a deed? He is abroad in Iraq, so that could be problematic.

    This has been a nightmare, and your help is appreciated.

  3. guildy

    From what you describe, all sounds fine and they have no intention to return. Although they keys are the important part, it’s the symbol of returning the keys which matters as opposed to the physical thing. For example, we have a tenant who left a note inside an empty flat that they keys were being returned by recorded delivery. They have never arrived but that’s irrelevant. The fact is keys were said to be being returned which means there is no intention to return which means the tenancy is at an end.

    Everything you have said seems very clear to us they are not returning and you have plenty of evidence to support.

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