There is no automatic right to leave your accommodation early and you’re liable to pay the rent until either break clause (if you have one) or until the end of the tenancy period. However, there are a few ways you may be able to leave early.

UAL Halls Contract

Normally your license agreement will say you need to find a replacement tenant before you can leave early. However, if you are currently in UAL halls accommodation (2020/21) you have the option of leaving without any financial penalty or having to find a replacement tenant. You can submit an early release request online via the UAL Accommodation portal (

If you’re staying the length of your contract, you can get a 7-week waiver off Term 3’s rent. (2020/21)

Contract with a Private Provider

A good starting point is to check your contract to see what it says about leaving early. Most students who rent from a private landlord who doesn’t live at the property will have an AST (assured shorthold tenancy). You may be able to end this type of tenancy early by using a break clause or by using the assignment clause if there is one. Alternatively, you may be able to sublet or negotiate a surrender of your tenancy.

Private halls providers usually rent rooms through a licence agreement and may allow you to leave your tenancy early. You should review your contract to see if this is possible.

A break clause

A break clause allows you and your landlord to end the contract early by giving written notice. If the break clause allows just your landlord to end early, the clause could be unfair and therefore invalid. If you have a joint tenancy, you will all need to agree to use the break clause and leave early.

If you have a break clause you will need to give written notice at least 2 months before the break clause date. For example, if you have a 12 month contract with a 6 month break clause, you may be able to leave after 6 months, but you will need to give 2 months notice (so 4 months after the start of the contract).

Assignment (finding a replacement tenant)

It’s common to have a clause allowing you to assign your tenancy. A clause prohibiting assignment is unfair and likely to be unenforceable.

If you have an agent, they may be able to help find a replacement tenant.

If you need to find a replacement tenant yourself. Below are a few places where you can advertise. We don’t monitor these sites so you should be cautious when using them:

 Arts SU Facebook group

Student Accommodation UK

Spare Room

The Student Room

Some landlords charge a fee (maximum of £50) to cover the cost of changing over the tenancy.

Once you have found a replacement tenant, make sure your landlord or agent has given their agreement in writing.


Even if your contract allows you to sublet your room with written consent, be aware that this would make you a landlord and does not bring your tenancy to an end. You would take on all the responsibilities that come with being a landlord and at the same time you remain liable for your tenancy obligations. For example, if your tenant fails to pay the rent or breaches any of the tenancy obligations, you can be held liable.


If there is no break clause, option to assign or sublet, you can try negotiating with your landlord to surrender your tenancy. This is a voluntary agreement between you and the landlord that the tenancy has come to an end. Normally the landlord will ask for their reasonable costs to be covered. It’s important to have your surrender agreement in writing and signed.

Covid 19

Landlords are not obliged to agree to a surrender of your tenancy during the pandemic. However, it’s always worth trying to negotiate a surrender of the tenancy or asking for a reduction or postponement of rent if you are experiencing financial difficulties. If you are not able to pay your rent due to a loss in income because of Covid 19, you may be eligible to apply for financial help from the University’s Hardship Fund.

Get in touch

If you are unsure what options you have with ending your tenancy early get in touch.

Contact an adviser here

Book a telephone appointment here 

Other useful links


Citizens Advice