Section 21 eviction process

Find out about the section 21 eviction process a private landlord must follow to end your assured shorthold tenancy.

What is a section 21 notice?

A section 21 notice is the form your landlord must give you to start the process to end your assured shorthold tenancy.

It gives you notice to leave your home, but it’s legal for you to stay in your home after the date it expires. 

Your landlord must follow a legal process that involves going to court to evict you. They cannot force you to leave and could be guilty of an illegal eviction if they do.

Throughout the process you have the rights of an assured shorthold tenant and have to pay rent as usual.

1. Notice

Your landlord doesn't have to give a reason for wanting you to leave when they give you a section 21 notice.

The notice must:

If your tenancy started or was renewed on or after 1 October 2015, the notice must be on Form 6A.

2. Court action

Your landlord can apply to a court for a possession order if you stay past the date given on the notice. 

You can get free or low cost legal help if you qualify for legal aid.

Court papers

After your landlord applies to the court, the court sends you papers, including a defence form. The papers also tell you which type of possession proceedings your landlord is using.

You should complete and return the defence form to the court if you want to challenge the eviction or ask for more time to stay. 

Court hearing

A hearing date isn't automatically given if a landlord uses the faster and more common accelerated possession proceedings. 

The court decides if a hearing is needed when it receives your landlord's claim and your defence form if you returned it. The court makes a decision by looking at the papers if there is no hearing.

If your landlord uses standard possession proceedings, you are given a date for a court hearing. You can attend the hearing even if you didn't send your defence form to the court.

Court decision

The court can decide to:

If the case is dismissed, your landlord has to start the eviction process again if they still want you to leave.

If the court orders you to leave, it usually gives you 2 weeks but can allow up to 6 weeks. You will probably also have to pay your landlord's court costs.

The court records its decision and any leaving date in a possession order

3. Bailiffs

Only court bailiffs can evict you from your home.

If you don't leave by the date set out in the possession order made by the court, your landlord can apply to the court for bailiffs to evict you.

You get notice of the time and date of the eviction on a court document called Form N54. The bailiffs post this or deliver it by hand.

Be prepared, packed and ready to hand back your keys on the day the bailiffs arrive.

You have to leave when the court bailiffs come to evict you.

Ask the council for help if you're facing eviction

'The not knowing was pretty scary'

Lyndsay describes the moment she received a section 21 notice and tells us about the stress it caused. Read Lyndsay's story to find out how she dealt with it...

Last updated 06 Feb 2018 | © Shelter

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