Ending Your Tenancy and Moving Out

A private residential tenancy can be ended by the tenant or the landlord. We explain how both can choose to end the tenancy, the notice periods that will be given and everything you need to do before you move out. 

A private residential tenancy can be ended in three ways. Either the tenant gives notice and leaves, the tenant and landlord reach an agreement to leave or the landlord wants possession of the property and obtains an eviction order.

If You Decide to End the Tenancy

Torn contract

There might be lots of different reasons for you deciding to move on from your current pad. If you want to end your tenancy and move out you will need to give your landlord 28 days' notice in writing. The notice period will start on the day your landlord receives the notice and will end 28 days after that date.

If you have a joint tenancy with your flatmates, all tenants must agree to end the tenancy and sign the notice to leave. One joint tenant cannot end the tenancy on behalf of everyone.

If Your Landlord Decides to End the Tenancy 

Your landlord can also choose to end the tenancy. They can only do this if they use one of the 18 grounds for eviction. These are separated into four key areas including:

  • the property is needed for another purpose
  • the status of the tenant
  • the conduct of the tenant
  • there is a legal reason why the tenancy can’t continue

You can find out more about the specifics around grounds for eviction here. If you have an assured tenancy or short-assured tenancy the grounds for eviction are slightly different. You can find advice on the grounds for eviction on short-assured tenancies at Shelter. 

If your landlord decides to end the tenancy, they will need to tell you why they are evicting you and provide evidence of this. The amount of notice your landlord has to give you depends on how long you’ve lived in the property and the reason for eviction. This is typically 28 days but can be 84 days if you have lived in the property for more than six months and the landlord isn't using a conduct ground of eviction. You can find out more about notice periods here.

What You Need to do Before You Move Out

Moving checklist

Once you have given or been given notice to leave you will need to think about finding a new place to live and getting everything in order in your current place. Here are some things you'll need to think about. 

  • Packing. You'll need to start thinking about organising your belongings and getting packed up. It might be a good time to de-clutter! 
  • Inventory check. When you move into a property you are usually given an inventory which lists everything in the flat. When you move out you should go through this and check everything is still there. If anything is broken or missing it is probably best to replace this. You might want to take dated photos before you leave, as this might help to prove the condition you left things in, if there is a dispute. 
  • Cleaning. Boring, we know! But cleaning the flat before you move out is a good idea so that you're not charged any cleaning fees. 
  • Letting people know you're moving. You should contact people who use your address to let them know you are moving. This will usually be organisations like your gas and electricity supplier, bank, doctor's surgery, the Council’s Council Tax Team, and more. You can also get your mail redirected to your new address at the Post Office.
  • If you’re responsible for paying the power bills, take final meter readings for gas and electricity on the day you move out, and give them to your power company. This will help to stop them charging you for power used by the next set of tenants or by the landlord after you have moved out.
  • Deposit. When you move into a property you may have to pay a deposit. This must be  kept in a tenancy deposit scheme which protects your money. When you move out of the property your landlord will apply to the tenancy deposit scheme and ask for the deposit to be returned to you. It will include details of any deductions, for things like damages, and you will have to agree to this. If you don't agree with the deductions or don't think your landlord has applied for the deposit to be returned you can dispute this. Any deposit you pay your landlord or letting agent must be paid into one of the 3 schemes in Scotland by them within 30 working days. Each of the schemes have helpful information on their websites and can be contacted for deposit related guidance. Your deposit will be held by either Letting Protection Service Scotland, Safe Deposits Scotland or My Deposits Scotland.

Find out more about Private Renting by heading to the New Digs page