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I'm in England, UK. I own a flat which I rent out, and live elsewhere with my girlfriend. We broke up and I need to go back to my flat. Under COVID law, I need to give 6 months' notice to my tenants, but their contract is coming to an end in 2 months' time.

Can I just not renew their contract and go back to my place in 2 months or do I still need to give them 6 months' notice?

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  • The rules may vary so which part of the UK are you in? England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland? – Rock Ape Mar 15 at 20:59
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    England, sorry (now added to the question). – Ugo Mar 15 at 21:00
  • Does this apply if you want to move in yourself as well? – AsheraH Mar 15 at 21:05
  • Yeah I don't know and it doesn't seem clear from the government website – Ugo Mar 15 at 21:13
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Can I just not renew their contract and go back to my place in 2 months or do I still need to give them 6 months' notice?

Short answer:

6 months' notice

Long answer:

I'm assuming this is a fixed-term Assured Shorthold Tenancy.

Unless a landlord is going down the Section 8 route where the tenant has broken the tenancy agreement, they will need to serve a "Section 21 Notice" under the Housing Act 1988 requesting the tenant to leave a property.

The Act has been amended to extend this notice period to 6 months, and any fixed-term tenancy that ends during that period will roll over to a periodic tenancy until the end of the notice period.

This is the relevant extract from the government's website:

Section 21 notices requiring possession of a property under an assured shorthold tenancy

Landlords can only use a Section 21 notice to ask their tenants to leave their property:

  • If the notice expires at or after the end of the fixed term.

  • During a tenancy with no fixed end date - known as a ‘periodic’ tenancy.

  • From 29 August 2020, a Section 21 notice must give tenants at least 6 months’ notice of the fact that the landlord requires possession.

This give some more detail about s.21 Notices.

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their contract is coming to an end in 2 months' time.

No, it isn't (assuming it's an assured shorthold tenancy). It sounds like the fixed term part of the tenancy is coming to an end in 2 months' time. If no-one does anything, the tenancy will automatically become a statutory periodic tenancy (often called a "rolling" tenancy) after that.

But the tenancy still exists, and as Rock Ape's answer states, you still need to issue a valid notice (probably a section 21 notice unless the tenants have stopped paying rent, etc) if you'd like the tenants to leave.

You are free to ask your tenants to leave (perhaps with a financial incentive), but they are free to refuse.

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