Eviction of assured shorthold tenants

Most private renters have an assured shorthold tenancy (AST).

Check if you have an AST.

How you can be evicted

Your landlord must give you a legal notice as a first step towards ending your tenancy.

Assured shorthold tenants must be given either:

  • a section 21 notice

  • a section 8 notice

Your landlord might give both types of eviction notice at the same time.

When the notice period ends your landlord can apply to court for an eviction order.

It's an illegal eviction if your landlord or agent tries to evict you without notice or a court order. Only bailiffs can carry out an eviction.

Section 21 notice

A section 21 notice is the most common way for your landlord to start the eviction process.

It's sometimes called a 'no fault' notice because your landlord does not need to give a reason for a section 21.

Notice periods changed several times during coronavirus. This table shows the minimum notice periods for a section 21 during the pandemic.

Date you were given noticeMinimum notice period
On or after 1 October 20212 months
Between 1 June 2021 and 30 September 20214 months
Between 29 August 2020 and 31 May 20216 months

You don't have to leave when the notice ends unless you're ready to do so. 

Your landlord can start court action after the notice period has ended. They have 4 months to do this. If they don't apply to court within this time the notice will expire and can't be used.

Your tenancy rights and responsibilities continue if you stay past the date on a section 21.

Keep paying your rent and only agree a move out date if you've found somewhere else to live. For example, if you sign a tenancy agreement for a new home.

Section 8 notice

Your landlord can only give you a section 8 notice if they have a legal reason or 'ground'. They must prove the ground at a court hearing.

Most section 8 notices are for rent arrears.

Notice periods for rent arrears were extended temporarily during the pandemic but have now returned to a much shorter notice period.

From 1 October 2021 you could be given just 2 weeks' notice if you have rent arrears or are late with your rent.

Use our coronavirus notice checker if you received a section 8 notice before this date to check the rules in place when you got your notice.

You can also be given a section 8 notice for other reasons, for example, antisocial behaviour.

Your landlord can start court action when the notice period ends. The notice will expire if your landlord does not start court action within a year of giving you the notice.

If you want to end your tenancy

You may need to take steps to end your tenancy legally even if you're willing to move out.

Communicate in writing or by email. Be clear about when you want the tenancy to end.

You're responsible for rent until the tenancy ends, even if you move out earlier. Your landlord should be flexible if they want you to leave without the need for court action.

Giving notice to your landlord

If you can't agree on a tenancy end date, you can usually end your tenancy by giving notice to your landlord.

Only give notice under a break clause or with a 'notice to quit' if you're sure you want to leave by the date in the notice.

Your landlord will not need a court order to end your tenancy if you give them a valid notice.

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Last updated: 30 September 2021

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