Section 21 eviction


How to check a section 21 notice is valid

Coronavirus update

From 29 August all section 21 notices must give at least 6 months' notice.

Notices from before this date could still be valid.

1. Check the form and dates

Your landlord can't give you a valid section 21 notice during the first 4 months of your original contract.

The notice must be on Form 6A if your tenancy started or was renewed on or after 1 October 2015.

Notice periods and time limits for landlords to start court action have been temporarily extended due to coronavirus.

The notice won't be valid if it's too short or the landlord applies to court too late.

The rules depend on when you got the notice.

When you were given noticeMinimum notice periodHow soon must landlord start court action
On or after 29 August 20206 monthsWithin 4 months of date on the notice
Between 26 March and 28 August 20203 monthsWithin 3 months of date on the notice
Before 26 March 20202 monthsWithin 4 months of date on the notice

2. Find out if your deposit is protected

A section 21 notice is invalid if either:

  • your deposit is not protected in a scheme
  • it was protected more than 30 days after your most recent contract started

If your landlord breaks these rules, they can only serve a valid section 21 notice if they return your deposit first.

The landlord must also give you certain written information about the deposit and the scheme used before they can give you a valid section 21 notice.

The tenancy deposit protection rules also apply to agents.

3. Check for gas and energy certificates

A section 21 notice can be invalid if you receive it before your landlord gives you a current copy of both the:

This might not apply if your tenancy started before 1 October 2015 and has not been renewed since.

4. Check your tenancy documents

A section 21 notice will be invalid if you receive it before your landlord gives you a copy of the government guide ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’.

This only applies if your tenancy started on or after 1 October 2015. 

5. If you're overcharged for a fee or deposit

Landlords and agents can only:

  • take up to 5 weeks' rent as a deposit
  • charge fees in certain situations

Most tenancy related fees are banned.

Your landlord can't give you a valid section 21 notice if they took a higher deposit or a banned fee unless they return the overcharged amount first.

But if an agent overcharged you, the landlord can still give you a section 21 notice.

6. Find out if your landlord needs a licence

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

A landlord who needs a licence can’t serve a valid section 21 notice unless they either:

  • have a licence from the council
  • have applied for a licence or a temporary exemption 

Ask the council if your landlord needs a licence:

Find your council's details on GOV.UK

7. If the council orders repairs to your home

Your landlord can't give you a valid section 21 notice for the next 6 months if the council orders your landlord to do repairs under either an:

  • improvement notice
  • emergency works notice

A section 21 notice could be invalid if you got it after making a written complaint to your landlord about conditions in your home. It becomes invalid if you complain to the council and they serve an improvement or emergency works notice on your landlord.

Find out more about when you're protected from revenge eviction if you ask for repairs.


Last updated 18 September 2020 | © Shelter

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help

Get help

Have you had a bad housing experience?

By sharing your story, you’re helping spread the message of what we do so that we can help even more people.

Share your story Share your story

Email a link to this article

Thank you - your message has been sent.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.

Was this advice helpful?

Thank you - your feedback has been submitted to the team.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.