Find out the three steps your landlord has to follow to evict you from your private rented home.
Step 1: Section 21 notice
A section 21 notice is the most commonly used way to begin the three-step eviction process for renters with an assured shorthold tenancy contract.
If you're given a section 21 notice, you don't have to leave immediately. Landlords must give you at least two months' notice. Your landlord doesn't have to give a reason for wanting you to leave.
To be legal a Section 21 notice must:
- be delivered in writing and give you at least two months' notice
- be on a special form if you signed a new contract or a renewal agreement on or after 1 October 2015
Your landlord must also have followed certain rules for protecting your tenancy deposit and given you required tenancy deposit information.
Your landlord can't use a section 21 notice to evict you during the fixed term of your contract.
Get advice now if you're facing eviction. Have the papers you received from the court to hand when you speak to an adviser.
Call Civil Legal Advice on 0345 345 4 345 to see if you qualify for legal aid
Call Shelter's free national helpline on 0808 800 4444 to speak to one of our expert advisers
Use Shelter's directory to find local advice from Shelter, Citizens Advice or a law centre
Step 2: Going to court
If you stay in the property after your two months' notice has ended, your landlord must apply to court for a possession order to get the property back.
Your landlord will usually get the possession order if they have served the section 21 notice correctly. The eviction process takes from 4 to 6 months, depending on how busy the court is.
You can challenge the eviction if the section 21 notice isn't valid.
The papers the court sends you include a defence form. Use it to reply to the court and explain why your landlord can't use the section 21 notice to evict you, for example because you complained about repairs or your tenancy deposit wasn't protected.
If you want the court to delay the eviction, you can ask for an extension to stay up to 42 days longer. This is only granted in exceptional circumstances. Use the defence form to ask.
After you send the court your defence form, it arranges a hearing. At the court hearing, you have a chance to put forward your case. The judge considers your situation and what the law says. The judge won't grant a possession order if you didn't receive a section 21 notice or if it isn't valid. Otherwise, the court will give you a date to leave.
You only have 14 days to send your defence form to the court. If you don't, the case can be dealt with using the accelerated possession procedure. This allows the court to grant your landlord a possession order without having a hearing.
Step 3: Bailiffs
When a landlord is granted a possession order, the court sets a date for you to leave.
If you stay beyond this date, your landlord can ask the court to send a bailiff to evict you.
Only court bailiffs can evict you from your home.
The court will send you a letter to let you know that the bailiffs are coming. This gives you time to pack your things.
Bailiffs can remove you and your belongings from the property but must not use force.
Last updated 01 Oct 2015 | © Shelter
Still need help?
If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help