How to check a section 21 notice is valid

You can stop a section 21 eviction if the notice your landlord gives you is invalid.

Tenancy started or renewed after 1 October 2015

You'll need to check different rules if your tenancy started before 1 October 2015 and hasn't been renewed since.

1. Check the form and dates

To serve a valid section 21 notice your landlord must:

  • wait 4 months after the start of your original tenancy
  • use Form 6A
  • give you at least two months’ notice

If you pay your rent quarterly or every six months, you must be given one full rental period of notice.

If your landlord has got the dates or your address wrong on the notice this could make it invalid.

Your landlord must start court action within 6 months of serving the section 21 notice. The notice is invalid if they wait longer than this.

2. Check your landlord gave you the right documents

The section 21 notice is invalid if it's served before your landlord gives you:

3. Find out if your deposit is protected

Your landlord has to follow rules around protecting your tenancy deposit.

A section 21 notice is invalid if any of these apply:

  • your deposit wasn't protected in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme
  • the deposit was protected more than 30 days after you paid it
  • your landlord hasn't given you required information about the tenancy deposit scheme used

Before your landlord can give you a valid section 21 notice, they must return your deposit to you in full if it wasn't protected or protected late.

4. Check if the council has ordered your landlord to do repairs

A section 21 notice may be invalid if your landlord served it after you complained in writing about repairs or the condition of your home. It becomes invalid after the council sends your landlord an improvement or emergency work notice.

Your landlord can't serve you with a section 21 notice within 6 months of receiving a notice.

Eviction after you complain about repairs or poor conditions is called a revenge or retaliatory eviction.

5. Find out if your landlord needs a licence

Many houses in multiple occupation, such as bedsits and B&Bs, need a licence. Some councils require all private landlords to have a licence.

A landlord that needs a licence and doesn’t have one can’t serve a valid section 21 notice.

Ask the council if your landlord needs a licence to rent out your home and whether they have one.

Use GOV.UK to find contact details for your council

Tenancy started before 1 October 2015

1. Check what the notice says

The notice must be in writing. Your landlord can use Form 6A if they want.

If your landlord has got the dates or your address wrong on the notice this could make it invalid.

2. Work out how much notice you’ve been given

You're entitled to at least two months' notice if you pay your rent weekly, monthly or every four weeks.

If you pay your rent quarterly or every six months, you must be given one full rental period of notice.

A section 21 notice with an incorrect notice period isn't valid.

3. Check if your deposit is protected

A section 21 notice is invalid if:

  • your deposit wasn't protected in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme
  • the deposit was protected more than 30 days after you paid it
  • your landlord hasn't given you required information about the tenancy deposit scheme used

Before your landlord can give you a valid section 21 notice, they must return your deposit to you in full if it wasn't protected or protected late.

4. Find out if your landlord needs a licence

Many houses in multiple occupation, such as bedsits and B&Bs, need a licence. Some councils require all private landlords to have a licence.

A landlord that needs a licence and doesn’t have one can’t serve a valid section 21 notice.

Ask the council if your landlord needs a licence to rent out your home and whether they have one.

Use GOV.UK to find contact details for your council

Still need help?

Contact a Shelter adviser online or by phone.


Last updated 06 Feb 2018 | © Shelter

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