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Eviction notices from private landlords

Private tenants are usually entitled to written notice to leave their homes. How much notice you get depends on the type of tenancy you have and the reason you are being evicted.

Eviction step 1 - notice from the landlord

Does a landlord have to give written notice?

Most tenants are entitled to a written notice to leave even if your landlord did not give you a written agreement to live there in the first place.

After the notice expires your landlord must apply to the court for a possession order.

But if you share living accommodation such as a kitchen or bathroom with your landlord (you are an excluded occupier), the landlord only has to give you reasonable notice to leave.

Get advice if you're facing eviction.

Use Shelter's directory to find local advice from Shelter, Citizens Advice or a law centre

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 required may include:

  • your name and address
  • your landlord's name and address
  • the date you have to leave
  • the reason your landlord is evicting you
  • 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 6 months) the landlord can give you notice any time but it cannot take effect until the end of that fixed period unless:

  • they can prove a legal reason (or 'ground for possession') to evict you, or
  • there is a 'break clause' in your tenancy agreement that allows this

Your landlord can give you notice any time if you have a periodic tenancy (one which runs from week to week, or month to month).

When you have to leave

The notice must set a date. This can be a date after which your landlord can apply to the court for a possession order. Or it can be a date after which your landlord wants you to leave.

There are rules about the earliest this date can be depending on the type of tenancy you have and the reason your landlord is evicting you.

You do not have to leave after the notice period runs out unless you are an excluded occupier.

Notice for an assured shorthold tenancy

Your landlord can use a section 21 notice to give you 2 months' notice to leave if you are an assured shorthold tenant.

If the section 21 notice is valid, the court must grant a court order that requires you to leave.

When the section 21 notice takes effect depends on whether you have:

  • a fixed-term tenancy – for a fixed period of time (for example 6 months or 1 year)
  • a periodic tenancy – running indefinitely from one rent period to the next (for example from week to week, or month to month)

If you paid a deposit, a section 21 notice can only be used if your landlord has protected your deposit.

Your landlord can use a quicker route for eviction called the accelerated possession procedure, as long as you do not owe any money.

Your landlord can also take you to court to evict you for reasons such as rent arrears or antisocial behaviour.

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 2 months' or 2 weeks' notice depending on the reason you are being evicted.

But if your landlord wants to evict you because of serious antisocial behaviour the notice can take effect immediately.

After the notice expires your landlord can apply to the court for a possession order.

Find out more about the eviction of assured tenants.

Notice for a regulated tenancy

If you are a regulated tenant your landlord must usually give you a written 'notice to quit' that does not expire for at least 28 days.

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

Your landlord also needs a legal reason to evict you.

Notice if you are an occupier with basic protection

If you are an occupier with basic protection the notice your landlord must give depends on whether you have:

  • a fixed-term tenancy – for a fixed period of time (for example 6 months or 1 year)
  • a periodic tenancy – running indefinitely from one rent period to the next (for example from week to week, or month to month)

After a fixed-term tenancy ends your landlord can apply to the court for a possession order straight away. They do not have to give you any other notice.

If you have a periodic tenancy the amount of notice you must be given depends on how often you should pay your rent. If you pay rent weekly you must be given 4 weeks' notice. If you pay monthly you must be given 1 month's notice. If you pay rent quarterly you must be given 3 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
  • tell you where to get advice

If you share with your landlord

Excluded occupiers (such as people who share facilities with their landlord) are only entitled to 'reasonable' notice.

This notice does not have to be in writing.

Find out more about the eviction of excluded occupiers.

After a notice period ends

You do not have to leave until the landlord gets a possession order from the court, unless you are an excluded occupier.

Get advice as soon as you can if you receive a letter or notice from your landlord asking you to leave. An adviser can check whether you will have to leave.

Find out more about reasons for eviction.

Your landlord can usually apply to the court for a possession order straight after the notice period ends. If this happens the court will contact you.

The 3 steps to eviction

Last updated 29 Apr 2015 | © Shelter

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