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Navigating the landscape of rental agreements in the UK can be a complex endeavor, especially when you encounter terms like “tenancy at will.” This type of tenancy agreement might not be as widely recognized as fixed-term leases, but it’s crucial for both landlords and tenants to understand its implications. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll demystify tenancy at will, explaining its meaning, how it differs from other tenancy agreements, and the essential considerations for ending such a tenancy. Plus, we’ll introduce you to Contend, your AI-powered legal assistant, ready to help you navigate the nuances of tenancy at will and other legal matters with ease.

What is Tenancy at Will?

Tenancy at will is a flexible rental agreement between a landlord and a tenant without a fixed end date. Unlike traditional fixed-term tenancies, which operate on a set duration, tenancy at will arrangements offer both parties the freedom to terminate the agreement at any time, provided reasonable notice is given. Your landlord should give you a copy of the government’s ‘How to rent’ guide – though they don’t have to do this if you’re renting from a housing association. You can see the ‘How to rent’ guide on GOV.UK.

Key Characteristics of Tenancy at Will

  • Flexibility: The most significant advantage of a tenancy at will is its flexibility. It allows tenants to occupy a property without committing to a long-term lease, making it ideal for temporary living situations.
  • No Fixed Duration: There is no predetermined length for the tenancy. It lasts as long as both the landlord and tenant desire.
  • Termination: Either party can end the tenancy at will with reasonable notice, typically defined by the agreement or, in its absence, by common practice or law. If your landlord still won’t return the illegal fees you can take them to a First-tier tribunal. You can find out about First-tier tribunals on GOV.UK.
How much notice do I need to give to end my tenancy at will?

How Tenancy at Will Differs from Other Agreements

Tenancy at will is often confused with other types of rental agreements, such as assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) or periodic tenancies. The key difference lies in the duration and stability of the agreement. ASTs, for example, have a fixed term, usually ranging from six months to a year or more, offering more stability for both parties. Periodic tenancies, on the other hand, roll on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis but still require formal notice to terminate. Tenancy at will provides a unique level of flexibility, ideal for situations where a short-term or uncertain duration is needed.

Is a tenancy at will the best option for my rental situation?
Housing: tenancy at will meaning

Ending Your Tenancy at Will

Terminating a tenancy at will is straightforward but requires adherence to proper notice procedures. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Notice Period: Check your agreement for any specified notice period. If none is mentioned, a reasonable period is typically implied. This can vary, but two to four weeks is common.
  2. Written Notice: To avoid misunderstandings, it’s advisable to provide written notice of your intention to terminate the tenancy. This applies to both tenants and landlords.
  3. Tenancy Agreements: Although a tenancy at will does not require a formal agreement, having a written document that outlines terms, including how to end the tenancy, can prevent potential disputes.
How do I properly give notice to end my tenancy at will?

Practical Considerations

  • Security: The lack of a fixed term means less security for both tenant and landlord. Tenants could be asked to leave at relatively short notice, while landlords might find their property unexpectedly vacated.
  • Suitability: Tenancy at will agreements are best suited for temporary or uncertain circumstances, such as when waiting for the completion of a property purchase or during a transitional period.
  • Legal Rights: Despite the informal nature of a tenancy at will, tenants still have legal rights, including the right to a habitable living environment. Landlords must adhere to safety and health regulations at all times.
How can I protect my rights in a tenancy at will agreement?

How Contend Can Help

Understanding the intricacies of tenancy at will and ensuring you’re fully protected can be challenging. That’s where Contend steps in. Our AI-driven legal assistance platform is designed to simplify legal guidance, making it accessible and understandable for everyone. Whether you’re a tenant unsure about your rights or a landlord looking to draft a fair and compliant tenancy at will agreement, Contend’s AI legal experts are here to help. Chat with our AI legal assistant today to get clear, reliable answers to your legal questions in five minutes or less.

Why Choose Contend for Your Legal Needs?

  • Expertise: Built by lawyers and legal professionals, offering you trustworthy guidance.
  • Convenience: Access legal support in minutes, right from your device.
  • Simplicity: Legal advice in simple language, without the jargon.
How can I ensure my tenancy at will agreement is compliant?


Tenancy at will offers a unique, flexible option for landlords and tenants in the UK. Understanding its meaning, how it differs from other tenancy agreements, and the proper procedures for ending such a tenancy are crucial for navigating these arrangements successfully. With Contend’s AI-powered legal guidance, you can confidently manage your tenancy at will, ensuring your rights are protected and your legal questions answered. Ready to take the next step? Chat now with Contend’s legal expert and simplify your legal journey today. Make sure your post goes to your new address by using Royal Mail’s postal redirection service.

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This material is for general information only and does not constitute
tax, legal or any other form of advice. You should not rely on any
information contained herein to make (or refrain from making) any
decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your
own particular situation. Contend Inc is not regulated by the
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