HomeHome & LivingWhat is a Periodic Tenancy? - A Quick Guide

What is a Periodic Tenancy? – A Quick Guide

Welcome to our quick guide on periodic tenancy! Whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, understanding the ins and outs of different types of tenancy agreements is crucial. And when it comes to periodic tenancies, there’s no exception. So, what is a periodic tenancy?

In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into its definition, how it works, renewal and termination procedures, rent adjustments, advantages and disadvantages compared to fixed-term tenancies, notice periods for termination, and much more. By the end of this guide, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to navigate through the world of periodic tenancies with confidence. Let’s get started!

What is a Periodic Tenancy?

What is a Periodic Tenancy?

A periodic tenancy, also known as a month-to-month tenancy or a rolling tenancy, is a type of rental agreement between a landlord and a tenant that has no fixed end date. Instead, it continues until either the landlord or the tenant gives notice to terminate the tenancy.

Unlike a fixed-term tenancy, which has a specific duration stated in the rental agreement, a periodic tenancy allows for more flexibility in terms of the length of stay. It can be a good option for both landlords and tenants who prefer a less rigid commitment.

Under a periodic tenancy, rent is typically paid on a monthly basis, with the amount and other terms specified in the rental agreement or as mutually agreed upon by both parties. The advantage for tenants is that they have the freedom to leave the property with proper notice, usually 30 days, without any penalty. Similarly, landlords also have the ability to terminate the tenancy with appropriate notice, allowing them to regain possession of the property if needed.

How Does a Periodic Tenancy Work?

So, now that you have a clear understanding of what a periodic tenancy is let’s delve into how it actually works. A periodic tenancy is essentially an ongoing agreement between the landlord and tenant where there is no set end date for the tenancy. Instead, it continues on a rolling basis until either party decides to terminate the agreement.

One of the key features of a periodic tenancy is its flexibility. Unlike fixed-term leases that have specific start and end dates, periodic tenancies allow tenants to stay in their rental property indefinitely as long as they continue to pay rent and fulfil their obligations under the lease agreement.

In terms of termination, both landlords and tenants typically need to provide notice when they wish to end a periodic tenancy. The length of notice required may vary depending on local laws and the terms outlined in the lease agreement.

For example, if you are a tenant looking to end your periodic tenancy, you would generally need to provide written notice within a specified timeframe (e.g., 30 days) before you intend to vacate. Conversely, if your landlord wants you to move out or wishes to regain possession of the property for any reason (such as renovations or selling), they must also give you proper notice.

Renewal and Termination Procedures

Renewal and Termination Procedures

Renewal and termination procedures for periodic tenancies in the UK offer both flexibility and clarity for landlords and tenants. Here is an overview of the processes involved:


  1. Automatic Renewal: By default, a periodic tenancy automatically renews if the tenant continues to pay rent beyond the expiry date of the fixed term stated in the initial tenancy agreement. No formal renewal process is required in this case.
  2. Negotiated Renewal: If the landlord wishes to make changes to the terms of the tenancy agreement, such as increasing the rent, they can propose a new agreement before the fixed term ends. The tenant then has the option to accept, negotiate, or decline the new terms. This allows for open communication between both parties and the opportunity to discuss any modifications to the tenancy.


  1. Notice Periods: Both landlords and tenants are required to provide written notice to terminate a periodic tenancy. The length of the notice period depends on the frequency of rental payments:
  • Monthly tenancies: One month’s notice is typically required
  • Weekly tenancies: Seven days’ notice is usually needed
  1. Landlord’s Notices: Landlords have two main options for terminating periodic tenancies:
  • Section 21 Notices: Landlords can use a Section 21 notice to terminate a tenancy without providing a specific reason, as long as they give the required notice period. However, the tenancy must not be within the initial fixed term period, and other legal requirements must be met.
  • Section 8 Notices: Landlords can use a Section 8 notice to terminate a tenancy if there are specific grounds for possession, such as rent arrears or tenant breach of agreement. This involves demonstrating a breach of the tenancy agreement and following legal procedures.
  1. Tenant’s Notices: Tenants have the right to terminate their periodic tenancy by providing the required notice period in writing without needing to provide a specific reason for termination. This allows tenants the flexibility to move if needed, provided they comply with the notice requirements stated in the tenancy agreement or as specified by local laws.

Rent Adjustments in Periodic Tenancies

Rent adjustments in periodic tenancies in the UK follow specific guidelines to ensure fairness for both landlords and tenants. Here’s an overview of the key aspects:

Frequency of Rent Increases:

In general, landlords can only increase rent once a year in a periodic tenancy without your agreement.

Methods of Rent Increase:

  1. Your Agreement: If your tenancy agreement includes a rent review clause, the landlord can follow the specified process for increasing rent at the agreed intervals. It is important to carefully review this clause to understand the timing, conditions, and potential limitations of rent increases.
  2. Section 13 Notice: If your agreement does not have a rent review clause or if the current clause has expired, the landlord can use Section 13 of the Housing Act 1988 to increase the rent. They must provide you with a formal, written notice on a specific form that outlines the proposed new rent and the effective date. The notice must be served at least one month before the increase takes effect. As the tenant, you have the right to object to the proposed increase if you believe it is unfair or unreasonable.

Restrictions on Rent Increases:

There are several restrictions on rent increases in periodic tenancies:

  1. First Year of Tenancy: Landlords cannot increase the rent during the first year of their tenancy. This provides tenants with stability and helps prevent sudden and significant rent hikes shortly after moving in.
  2. Fairness and Realism: The proposed rent increase must be fair and realistic, taking into consideration factors such as local rental market trends, the condition and location of the property, and any recent improvements made by the landlord. Rent increases should align with market standards and should not be excessive or arbitrary.

It’s worth noting that there may be additional regulations or local variations that apply to rent adjustments in specific areas.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Periodic Tenancy

Advantages and Disadvantages of Periodic Tenancy

Periodic tenancy offers both advantages and disadvantages for tenants and landlords alike. Let’s take a closer look at these:

Advantages for Tenants:

  1. Flexibility: One major advantage of periodic tenancy is the flexibility it provides. Tenants have the freedom to move out with proper notice, allowing them to explore new opportunities or relocate as needed.
  2. Shorter Commitment: Unlike fixed-term leases, periodic tenancies do not require tenants to commit to a specific term. This can be appealing to those who prefer shorter lease agreements or are uncertain about their long-term plans.

Disadvantages for Tenants:

  1. Inconsistent Rent Increases: With periodic tenancies, landlords may have the ability to increase rents periodically. This lack of stability can make budgeting challenging for tenants.
  2. Uncertainty in Renewal: While some landlords may happily renew the agreement, others might choose not to renew without providing any reason, leaving tenants uncertain about their housing situation.

Advantages for Landlords:

  1. Easier Termination Process: Ending a periodic tenancy is generally simpler than terminating a fixed-term lease agreement since landlords typically only need to provide proper notice.
  2. Potential Rent Adjustments: For landlords who want flexibility in adjusting rent prices according to market conditions or other factors, periodic tenancies offer this opportunity.

Disadvantages for Landlords:

  1. Increased Vacancy Risk: With more frequent lease terminations possible in periodic tenancies compared to fixed-term leases, there is an increased risk of facing vacancy periods between tenants.
  2. Renewal Negotiations: Each renewal presents an opportunity for negotiation with the tenant regarding potential changes in rental terms or adjustments, which can be time-consuming.

While periodic tenancies offer flexibility and shorter commitments for tenants, they also come with uncertainties, such as fluctuating rents and potential non-renewals from landlords without cause. On the other hand, landlords benefit from easier termination procedures and potential rent.

Periodic Tenancy vs. Fixed-Term Tenancy

When considering whether to enter into a periodic or fixed-term tenancy, it’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences between the two:

Term of Agreement:

  • Periodic Tenancy: This type of tenancy has no fixed end date and continues indefinitely until either the landlord or the tenant gives notice to terminate. It automatically renews on a rolling basis.
  • Fixed-Term Tenancy: In contrast, a fixed-term tenancy has a predetermined end date specified in the tenancy agreement. It typically lasts for a set period, such as 6 months or 1 year, but can be longer.

Notice Period:

  • Periodic Tenancy: To end a periodic tenancy, the landlord or the tenant is required to provide notice. The length of the notice period is usually based on the rental payment frequency, such as one month’s notice for monthly rent.
  • Fixed-Term Tenancy: It generally cannot be terminated early by either party without a valid reason. If early termination is allowed, notice may be required depending on the circumstances.

Rent Adjustments:

  • Periodic Tenancy: Landlords can typically increase the rent once a year with proper notice, taking into account local regulations and rental market trends.
  • Fixed-Term Tenancy: Rent for a fixed-term tenancy remains unchanged for the duration of the agreement unless otherwise specified. Some contracts may allow for mid-term rent increases under specific conditions.


  • Periodic Tenancy: Tenants have less security in a periodic tenancy as landlords can terminate the agreement with shorter notice periods. However, tenants also have the flexibility to leave the property relatively quickly if needed.
  • Fixed-Term Tenancy: Tenants enjoy greater security in a fixed-term tenancy since they know their rent and tenancy will remain stable for the agreed-upon period. Landlords also benefit from a higher level of income certainty.


  • Periodic Tenancy: Both landlords and tenants have more flexibility with periodic tenancies. Tenants can easily leave by providing the required notice, and landlords can adjust the rent periodically.
  • Fixed-Term Tenancy: Flexibility is more limited in fixed-term tenancies, particularly for tenants who may need to leave before the end of the term. Landlords are also bound to the agreed-upon rent for the duration of the lease.

When choosing the right option:

  • For tenants: Consider your preference for stability versus flexibility. If you are uncertain about your long-term plans or value flexibility, a periodic tenancy may be the better choice. However, if you prioritise predictability and security, a fixed-term tenancy could be the preferred option.
  • For landlords: Fixed-term tenancies can provide guaranteed income for a specific period, offering greater stability. However, if you prefer shorter notice periods or the ability to adjust rent more frequently, a periodic tenancy may be more suitable.

Ultimately, the decision between a periodic tenancy and a fixed-term tenancy will depend on your individual circumstances, preferences, and goals as either a landlord or a tenant. Considering the advantages and disadvantages discussed can assist you in making an informed choice.

FAQ – Periodic Tenancy

FAQ - Periodic Tenancy

1. What Are the Typical Notice Periods for Terminating a Periodic Tenancy?

The typical notice periods for terminating a periodic tenancy in the UK depend on various factors:

  1. Landlord’s Notice: Landlords usually provide a notice period of 2 months when terminating a periodic tenancy using a “Section 21 notice”.
  2. Tenant’s Notice: Tenants typically need to give notice equal to the rental period. For example, if the rent is paid monthly, one month’s notice is usually required.
  3. Tenancy Agreement: It’s important to review your specific tenancy agreement as it may include clauses that require longer notice periods than the standard guidelines.

Please note that these are general guidelines, and it’s crucial to verify the exact notice period specified in your tenancy agreement or consult with legal professionals to ensure compliance with the applicable regulations.

2. Can a Landlord Increase Rent During a Periodic Tenancy?

Yes, a landlord in the UK can typically increase rent during a periodic tenancy, but there are certain methods and restrictions that must be followed. Firstly, if there is an agreement in place with a rent review clause, the landlord can increase the rent as agreed upon. Additionally, landlords can serve a Section 13 notice to increase the rent, but they must provide proper notice and justification for the increase.

It is important to note that rent can only be increased once a year without the tenant’s agreement. There are also certain restrictions to consider, such as not being able to increase the rent during the first year of the tenancy, and the increase must be fair and realistic. In case of any disputes or disagreements, tenants have the option to negotiate with their landlord or challenge the increase through the First-tier Tribunal.

3. Are There Any Circumstances Where a Tenant Can Break a Periodic Tenancy Agreement Without Penalty?

Yes, there are circumstances where a tenant in the UK can break a periodic tenancy agreement without penalty. These include:

  1. Landlord breaches the tenancy agreement: If the landlord fails to fulfil their responsibilities, such as not repairing essential elements of the property, engaging in harassment, or implementing illegal rent increases, the tenant may be able to break the agreement without penalty. It is advisable to seek legal advice in such cases.
  2. Serious health and safety problems: If the rental property poses a genuine threat to the tenant’s health or safety, they may be justified in leaving without notice or penalty. Again, it is recommended that you consult with a legal professional.
  3. Emergency relocation: In rare situations where the tenant faces unforeseen circumstances like immediate job relocation or fleeing domestic violence, they may be able to terminate the tenancy without penalty after explaining the situation to the landlord.
  4. Mutual agreement: If both the tenant and landlord agree to end the tenancy early, there will typically be no penalty.

4. How Does Periodic Tenancy Differ From Month-to-month Tenancy?

Periodic Tenancy and month-to-month tenancy are both flexible types of tenancy agreements that do not have a fixed end date. However, they differ in their legal formation and security:

  1. Periodic Tenancy: This type of tenancy can be either a contractual agreement or arise automatically after a fixed-term tenancy ends. It requires specific notice periods for termination, which are typically outlined in the tenancy agreement. A periodic tenancy provides a more formal structure and security for both the tenant and the landlord.
  2. Month-to-month Tenancy: This is an informal arrangement that is often short-term and does not require a fixed term to precede it. With a month-to-month tenancy, the tenancy can end with shorter notice periods or even non-payment in some cases. It is generally less secure than a formal periodic tenancy and offers more flexibility for both parties.

5. What Happens if a Tenant Wants to Renew a Periodic Tenancy?

If a tenant in the UK wishes to renew a periodic tenancy, they generally do not need to take any formal action. Simply continuing to pay rent and occupy the property is considered acceptance of the existing terms. However, here are some potential scenarios to consider:

  1. Landlord initiates contact: In many cases, the landlord may reach out to the tenant before the notice period for terminating the tenancy expires, inquiring if they would like to renew.
  2. Negotiating new terms: During renewal discussions, both the tenant and the landlord have the opportunity to negotiate changes to the rent amount, tenancy duration, or other terms that may be desired.
  3. Signing a new agreement: If significant changes are desired, a new written agreement can be created and signed by both parties, outlining the updated terms and conditions.

It is important to note that even without a formal renewal process, the periodic tenancy will continue until either the tenant or the landlord provides adequate notice to terminate it.

6. Are There Any Restrictions on How Many Times a Periodic Tenancy Can Be Renewed?

No, there are no restrictions on how many times a periodic tenancy can be renewed in the UK. It can continue indefinitely until either the landlord or tenant gives notice to terminate it.

7. Can a Landlord Terminate a Periodic Tenancy Without Cause?

Yes, in the UK, a landlord can typically terminate a periodic tenancy without cause. However, they are required to give the tenant proper written notice, usually at least two months in advance. It is important to note that there may be exceptions for certain types of tenancies or specific situations.

Therefore, it is advisable to seek legal advice that is tailored to your particular circumstances. They can provide guidance based on your specific situation and help you understand any unique rights or protections that may apply.

8. What Legal Protections Do Tenants Have Under Periodic Tenancy?

Under periodic tenancy in the UK, tenants benefit from various legal protections that provide security and stability. These include:

  1. Protection from eviction: Landlords must have valid grounds and serve proper notice to evict tenants, even in the absence of a fixed end date for the tenancy.
  2. Rent increase limits: Rent increases typically occur once a year and require justification from the landlord.
  3. Quiet enjoyment: Tenants have the right to live undisturbed by the landlord, ensuring peaceful enjoyment of the property.
  4. Repair obligations: Landlords are obligated to maintain the rental property in good repair, ensuring that it is safe and habitable for the tenant.
  5. Dispute resolution: In cases of disputes between tenants and landlords, there are tribunals available to help mediate and resolve issues.

These legal protections provide tenants with the necessary security, stability, and rights within open-ended rental agreements under periodic tenancy.

9. Is Written Documentation Required for a Periodic Tenancy Agreement?

In the UK, a written agreement is not legally required for a periodic tenancy. However, it is strongly recommended to have written documentation in place. Having a written agreement benefits both the landlord and tenant by providing clarity on the terms of the tenancy and protecting their respective rights. Having written documentation also helps to avoid potential disputes that may arise in the future. Therefore, while not mandatory, having a written agreement is highly advisable for a periodic tenancy.

10. What Happens at the End of a Periodic Tenancy?

At the end of a periodic tenancy in the UK, the tenancy continues on an indefinite basis until either the tenant or landlord decides to terminate it. In order to end the tenancy, both the tenant and landlord are typically required to provide written notice, with the tenant usually giving one month’s notice and the landlord also giving one month’s notice (although this can vary).

Regarding rent adjustments, they can occur once a year after the first year of the tenancy. These adjustments must be fair and reasonable, and if there are disputes over the proposed rent increase, there are mechanisms in place for resolution, such as through dispute resolution services.

11. Can the Landlord Change the Terms During the Tenancy?

Yes, landlords in the UK have the ability to change terms during a tenancy, but there are specific conditions that must be met. In most cases, landlords require the agreement of the tenant in order to make changes to the terms of the tenancy. This can include changes such as alterations to rent, length of tenancy, or other contractual terms.

Alternatively, landlords may also need to follow legal procedures, such as issuing proper written notice, when making changes such as increasing the rent. It’s important to note that tenants have rights and are entitled to object to any changes that they deem unfair or unreasonable.


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