Under the terms of a joint tenancy all tenants are required to give notice to end the contract. If one
chooses to leave without notice being given by all tenants to end the tenancy then the outgoing tenant
will remain responsible for the terms of the lease, even if they are choosing not to live in the property.

Guidance on the procedure for joint tenants giving notice is set out in the guidance notes that
accompany the private residential tenancy (PRT) as follows:

If the Agreement is a joint tenancy then all of the joint tenants have to agree to the ending
of the Agreement. One joint tenant cannot end the Agreement on behalf of all tenants. Any
notice from the tenant to end the tenancy would have to be signed by all of the joint

If a joint tenant wants to end the tenancy by sending notice to the landlord by email then
this would be done either:

  • by each of the people who are joint tenants sending their own email to the landlord, all
    saying that the tenancy is to end on the same date; or
  • by each of the joint tenants signing a paper copy notice to the landlord and then one of
    those joint tenants scanning or taking a photo of that signed paper copy notice and
    attaching it to an email and emailing it to the landlord, on behalf of all of the joint

There are times, such as where there has been domestic violence, where a court can make
an exclusion order or order the transfer of a joint tenancy into the name of one tenant, or a
tenancy in the name of one partner into the name of the other. This is under the
Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981. If a tenant needs advice about
this, they could contact one of the advice groups listed at the end of these Notes or Scottish
Women’s Aid (http://womensaid.scot/)

If notice is received from just one tenant on a joint tenancy the tenant will be advised in writing that one joint tenant cannot terminate the tenancy on behalf of all joint tenants and that they will therefore remain responsible for the terms of the lease until notice is served by all tenants.

If a tenant wants to leave a PRT tenancy then the landlord may be willing to offer the remaining tenants a new tenancy if the tenants all give notice in accordance with the guidance above. Sometimes the tenants who want to stay on will find a new person to share with. If this is the case then we would recommend that reference checks are carried out on the prospective new tenant before a new tenancy is offered.

Where there is continuous occupation by at least one tenant it is not normally advisable to carry out an
inventory check or update the inventory between tenancies. We would advise asking all tenants on the new tenancy to sign and date the existing inventory on or soon after the new tenancy start date. Should
the new tenancy end with a dispute over the deposit return, you should submit all tenancy agreements
to the deposit scheme adjudicator to show why the inventory is dated much earlier than the tenancy start date.

In the event of a joint tenant being replaced by a new tenant, a partial deposit will usually be returned to the outgoing tenant (unless deductions are required). A new tenancy to remaining tenants in most circumstances will be offered, conditional on the deposit being topped up by the same amount that is being returned to the outgoing tenant. This amount should be added to the deposit scheme account within 30 working days of the start date of the new tenancy.