Eviction Notice

8 min read
Eviction Notice: How to evict tenants, a guide from Parachute Law

As a landlord, you dread bad tenants. You do the reference checks and you hold interviews but sometimes you find yourself having to force tenants out of your property. This guide explains how to evict tenants, under amicable circumstances and when you find yourself caught in a dispute.

How to evict tenants

Whatever your situation it's important to follow the law and the terms of your tenancy agreement. If you don't, you could be prosecuted for illegal eviction or harassment.

Do not:
  • Make your tenant feel unsafe in the property
  • Force your tenant to leave
  • Stop any services, such as electricity
  • Refuse to carry out repairs
  • Have any friend or agent engage in antisocial behaviour against the tenant
  • Make threats
  • Engage in physical violence

Can landlords evict tenants?

Landlords cannot evict their tenants themselves. Follow the correct procedure or you may face criminal charges.

What is the eviction process?

The procedure depends on the type of tenancy agreement that you have:

Also known as a rolling tenancy agreement, which works on a weekly or monthly basis with no fixed end. You must serve your tenant with a notice to quit if you want to evict your tenants. This is commonly referred to as a section 21 eviction notice . However, it is not technically an eviction, it is a notice of possession, which comes first.
These are tenancies that run for a fixed time, for example 6 months, or one year. When the fixed term expires you can:
    Renew the contract with another fixed term agreement.
    If you do not renew the contract or repossess the property, the AST agreement becomes periodic.

You don't have to give a reason for evicting tenants if the fixed term has ended. You can only ask your tenants to leave before the fixed term is over under certain circumstances. For example:
  • They haven't paid the rent
  • They are engaging in antisocial behaviour
  • They are causing damage to the property
  • You are acting on a 'break clause' within the contract

If this applies, you can evict tenants using section 8 eviction notice
This is usually when you let a room in your own home, or you share a room or rooms with them, such as the kitchen or bathroom. These tenants have fewer rights and protections.

You do not have to go through the court. You just have to give 'reasonable' notice to quit, which doesn't even have to be in writing.

When considering a reasonable length of notice to give you should consider:
  • How long the tenant has been living with you
  • How often they pay rent (ie. you might give longer notice if your tenants pay monthly, than weekly)
  • Whether you get on
  • How quickly you need to move someone else in

If your tenant does not leave in time, you can change the lock on their room(s). However, you must return their belongings.

If you give unreasonable notice to leave, or your eviction is technically illegal, your tenant may apply to the local council to take action against you.
Tenancy began before 15 January 1989
May be regulated:
  • Rent paid to private landlord
  • Tenancy started before 15 January 1989, or
  • Same tenant signed a new tenancy agreement with the same landlord after 15 January 1989, even if at a new address, or
  • The same tenant previously had an assured tenancy in the same accommodation with the same landlord
  • You've always lived in the same building as your landlord (unless it is a purpose built block of flats)

Regulated tenants have additional rights and protections. You must prove a legal reason in court to evict any tenants with regulated tenancy. See more from Shelter
Tenancy started 15 January 1989 - 27 February 1997
May be assured,:

  • Rent paid to private landlord
  • Landlord and tenant do not live in same dwelling
  • Tenancy started 15 January 1989 - 27 February 1997, or
  • Landlord gave tenant written notice of assured tenancy before tenancy began, or
  • The same tenant previously had an assured tenancy in the same accommodation with the same landlord
  • Business tenancy
  • Rent of over £100,000 per year
  • Agricultural land or holdings
  • University halls
  • Holiday lets

Assured tenants have additional rights and protections. You can only evict a tenant if you can prove a legal reason in court. See more from Shelter

Section 21 eviction notice

To get your property back, serve your tenants with a section 21 notice of possession. This is not a notice of eviction but the step before. If your tenants leave the property following the section 21, you won't have to go through with an official eviction.

To issue a section 21:
  • You must have protected your tenants deposit using the Deposit Protection Scheme
  • The date of possession is at least 6 months from the beginning of the tenancy
  • You gave the tenant a gas safety certificate, energy performance certificate and the How to Rent guide when they began renting from you
  • You cannot serve a section 21 less than 4 months into the tenancy. (unless it is a renewed fixed term tenancy, where the original tenancy began longer than four months ago)
  • A section 21 will be invalid if served after your tenant has referred you to the local housing authority because you have failed to deal with a legitimate complaint

What is the notice period for tenantson a periodic or fixed term AST
Usually the notice period on a notice to quit must be at least 2 months. Due to the pandemic it is currently longer.
  • Notice given 26/03/20-28/08/20 - 3 months notice
  • Notice given 29/08/20-31/05/21 - 6 months notice
  • Notice given 01/06/21 onwards - 4 months notice

The law is different in Wales

You may be able to remove periodic tenants sooner under a section 8 notice

How can I evict someone quickly?

You can move your tenants out early if you both agree on an earlier date. Otherwise, you can only evict your tenants faster than the above processes if you have a legal reason to. Legal grounds can be found in Section 2 of the Housing Act 1988. The most common are:

  • Rent arrears
  • Damage to the property
  • Antisocial behaviour

If you have legal grounds, you can evict your tenants using a section 8.

Section 8 eviction notice

It is recommended that you seek legal advice before serving a section 8 notice to quit. You may serve both section 21 and section 8 at the same time, if both are valid.

If you serve both, and your tenant does not leave by the possession date you can apply to the court for a possession order under either notice.

Tips to evict tenants using a section 8 notice:
  • Try to get your tenant to surrender the tenancy mutually.
  • Consider using a section 21 notice instead
  • Remember that if your tenant refuses to leave and the court rules in their favour, you will not get your property back and you will be stuck with the legal costs

What is the notice period for tenantsunder asection 8 eviction notice?
On your eviction notice, you will give the legal grounds you are relying on to evict tenants. Different legal grounds require different notice periods, they range from two weeks to two months.

If your tenant does not leave by the possession date given in a valid section 21 notice to quit, or section 8 eviction notice, you can apply to court for a possession order. Get in contact if you want our help with your court application.

These are usually granted. If your tenants still do not leave, you can apply for a warrant for possession. Only when this warrant is granted, can you have bailiffs evict tenants for you.

Frequently Asked Questions
The length of time that a tenant can remain in a property after an eviction notice should be specified in your notice. You can read the article above to see what the appropriate length of time is for your type of tenancy. For Squatters in a property read How to get rid of a squatter
You can read the article above to see what the appropriate length of time is for your type of tenancy.

If you have been served with an eviction notice that you think is unlawful you may be able to dispute it. Contact us to book legal advice regarding your eviction.
If you have served a valid eviction notice, in most cases, your tenant will leave the property by the date of possession. Due to the Pandemic, you may have to serve a minimum notice of 4 months.

If they do not leave, you will have to apply for a possession order. This can take a matter of weeks to be granted by the court. The possession order itself will give a further 2-6 weeks for the tenants to leave.

If the tenants do not surrender the property by the date specified, you will have to apply for a warrant of possession.

Do you have a problem with your Tenants?
The process for settling a property dispute can be long and costly. If you don't have a legal agreement setting out your beneficial share in the property then get in contact with us and see how we can help.

We can assist with:
  • Working out your beneficial interest
  • Pre-action negotiations
  • Application to court
  • Preliminary hearing
  • Mediation
  • Court appearance

We have on hand counsel to support your claim and offer guidance along the way.

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