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Can my landlord evict me without a reason?

Your landlord does not need a reason to evict you if they use a section 21 notice.

Most private landlords can give you a section 21 notice to end an assured shorthold tenancy.

You probably have an assured shorthold tenancy if you rent privately.

Your landlord still needs to get an eviction order from the court before bailiffs can evict you. It can take several months for this to happen.

The proposed renters' reform law will scrap section 21 evictions but it is not law yet. Assured shorthold tenants can still be evicted with a section 21 notice.

When landlords use a section 21 notice

Landlords might use section 21 notice if they want to:

  • move into the property themselves

  • sell the property without a tenant living there

Some landlords use section 21 to evict if you ask them to fix problems in the property. This is called revenge eviction.

You might also get a section 21 if you owe rent or the landlord is worried you could fall behind with your rent.

It is illegal eviction if your landlord tries to kick you out without a notice and court order.

Lodgers, students and property guardians

Your landlord can evict you without a reason if you are a lodger. You can be evicted without a court order.

Students in university halls and some property guardians can be evicted without a reason but your landlord still needs a court order to evict you.

When your landlord needs a reason to evict

Your landlord needs a reason to evict you if your tenancy is:

They also need a reason if they give you a section 8 notice even if you have an assured shorthold tenancy.

Private landlords might use a section 8 notice if they cannot use section 21. For example, if they did not protect your tenancy deposit in an approved scheme.

Reasons for eviction

Legal reasons for eviction are called 'grounds'.

Common grounds for eviction are:

Some grounds are mandatory. This means the court must order your eviction if your landlord proves the ground. For example, if they prove you owe 2 months' rent or more.

Other grounds are discretionary. This means the court might decide to let you stay even if your landlord proves the ground.

If you sublet the property

It's a criminal offence to move out and sublet your home if you're a council or housing association tenant. You're likely to be evicted even if you move back in.

If you rent privately, your tenancy agreement usually says you cannot sublet the property and you can be evicted if you do.

Taking in a lodger is different. You can usually take in a lodger while you live in the property, but get your landlord's permission first.

Living away

You have to live in the property you rent as your main home. Your landlord can ask for a court order to evict you if you live somewhere else.

But sometimes, you can go away for a short time and keep your tenancy.

For example, if you:

  • are on holiday

  • work away

  • spend time in prison, hospital or a refuge

  • visit or stay with relatives

You must plan to return and make sure the rent is paid while you are away.

Have someone check your post while you're away. If the landlord thinks you're not coming back, they might try to end your tenancy.

Council and housing association tenants

Your landlord usually needs a reason to evict you if you are a council or housing association tenant.

You can be evicted without a reason if you are in emergency or temporary accommodation.

Find out more about the reasons you can be evicted if you are a:

Find out what to do if you're a secure or assured tenant and you get notice because you're behind on your rent.

Find out what to do if your tenancy is at risk because of antisocial behaviour.

Get help if you think you are at risk of losing your home.

Get free legal advice as soon as your landlord gives you notice.

Talk to your council's homeless team. They can give you advice even if you're a council tenant.

Last updated: 12 January 2024

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