Tacit Relocation and why Scotland is not England

I have moved to Scotland nearly a year ago now. Having lived for five years in England, I didn’t expect anything in the way of culture shocks. The first surprise came, when I learned that the pubs don’t have to close by 11pm. So far so good.

I also signed a contract for a flat in September 2004. The contract has been for six months. For various reasons I now want to move out. Well, no problem I thought, I just need to find some flatshare to join. Having done that (and having paid the transaction fee to the estate agents for the new flat), I wrote a letter to my old estate agents giving them one month notice of intention to move out. And that should have been the end of the story. And in England it would have been.

Unfortunately the Scots have in their infinte wisdom come up with the principle of “tacit relocation”. The idea is simple enough: if you have a contract to lease a property for some period of time (say six months) then after the six months it’ll automatically renew itself for the same period. Unless of course you or your landlord say that you (or them) don’t want it renewed.

So that’s what happened; the contract renewed itself for six months. I can’t move out, unless, of course, I find someone else to move into the flat.

I guess there’s nothing wrong with the idea of “tacit relocation”. It may even be useful in some cases. But I still like the English way of one month notices both better and a lot more natural.


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