Notice from the landlord
This content applies to England only.
Housing laws vary between England and Scotland. Get advice relating to Scotland
Most private tenants can only be evicted if the landlord follows specific legal procedures. These usually start when your landlord gives you notice that you will have to leave.
Does a landlord have to give written notice?
Most tenants are entitled to a written notice to leave a property even if your landlord did not give you a written agreement to live there in the first place. The main exception to this is if you share living accommodation such as a kitchen or bathroom with your landlord (if you are classed as an excluded occupier). In this situation the landlord only has to verbally ask you to leave.
A notice has to include certain information
The information that has to be included in the notice varies depending on the type of tenancy you have. The information that is usually required includes:
- your name and address
- your landlord's name and address
- the date you have to leave
- the reason your landlord is evicting you (if required)
- information about where you can get advice.
Restrictions on when a landlord can give notice
When you can be given the notice depends on the reason your landlord is evicting you and the type of tenancy you have.
If you have a fixed-term tenancy (for a set period, such as six months) your landlord can only give you notice during the fixed-term if:
- they can prove a legal reason to evict you (or 'ground for possession')
- the notice does not expire until after the fixed-term has ended
- there is a 'break clause' in your tenancy agreement.
If you have a periodic tenancy (one which runs from week to week, or month to month) your landlord can give you notice any time as long as the notice:
- is for the correct length of time
- contains any other information which may be required depending on what sort of tenancy you have.
When you have to leave
The notice must specify a date by which your landlord wants you to leave. There are rules about the earliest this date can be. These depend on the type of tenancy you have and the reason why your landlord is evicting you.
You can leave on this date or if you have not got anywhere else to go you can stay until your landlord gets a possession order from the court.
Notice for an assured shorthold tenancy
If you are an assured shorthold tenant, the rules on how much notice you are entitled to vary according to:
- if you have a 'fixed-term' tenancy (ie for a set period of time such as six months)
- if you have a 'periodic' tenancy (ie rolling from month to month
- if the landlord can prove a legal reason for the eviction (often called 'grounds for possession').
If your landlord can prove a legal reason for the eviction, you are entitled to either two months' or two weeks' notice, depending on the reasons for the eviction.
Landlords of assured shorthold tenants can evict tenants without having to prove a ground for possession. This type of tenancy allows landlords to evict using a simplified procedure, but the landlord must give two months notice. This procedure is sometimes called the 'shorthold ground' or a 'section 21 eviction'. If you have a fixed-term tenancy the notice cannot come into effect before the fixed-term has ended.
If you paid a deposit after 5 April 2007, the shorthold ground for eviction can usually only be used if your landlord has put your deposit into a Government-backed deposit protection scheme. Find out more about the eviction of assured shorthold tenants.
Notice for an assured tenancy
If you are an assured tenant your landlord must give either two months' or 14 days' notice depending on the reason you are being evicted. If the reason is because you have done something wrong (such as rent arrears or antisocial behaviour) the notice will be at least 14 days. If you are being evicted for any other reason the notice must be at least two months.
For more information on your rights, please see the section on eviction of assured tenants.
Notice for a regulated tenancy
If you are a regulated tenant you can only be evicted if your tenancy is at a certain stage (known as the statutory stage). The court will not make a possession order unless the landlord has a good reason for evicting you.
If your regulated tenancy is still at its contractual stage the landlord has to give a notice to end the contractual tenancy before applying for a court order.
Notice if you are an occupier with basic protection
If you are an occupier with basic protection the length of notice your landlord must give depends on how often you pay your rent. If you pay rent weekly you must be given four weeks' notice. If you pay monthly you must be given one months' notice. If you pay rent quarterly you must be given three months' notice.
The notice must also:
- end on a day that your rent is due
- explain your landlord must get a court order before you have to leave
- contain information about where you can get advice.
If you share with your landlord
Excluded occupiers (such as people who share facilities with their landlord) are not entitled to written notice. If you are an excluded occupier, you are only entitled to 'reasonable' notice. This can be verbal.
After a notice period ends
Unless you are an excluded occupier you don't have to leave until the landlord gets a possession order from the court. This means that if you can't leave when the notice ends you have a bit more time to find somewhere else to live. However, if there is a possession hearing, you might have to pay your landlord's court and legal costs.
If you receive a letter from your landlord asking you to leave, get advice immediately to check whether you will have to leave immediately or not. You should find out whether you can do anything (such as pay off your rent arrears) to prevent your landlord evicting you. If you can do this you will not normally be expected to pay your landlord's court costs. Talk to an adviser if you are thinking of staying after your notice ends.
Your landlord can apply to court for a possession order as soon as the notice ends. If this happens the court will contact you.