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Section 21 eviction

Is your section 21 notice valid?

Some landlords cannot use the section 21 eviction process because they:

  • make mistakes on the notice

  • have broken other rules

If the notice is not valid, your landlord cannot use it to evict you.

Your landlord must give you a valid notice to start the eviction process.

Video: 8 reasons a section 21 might not be valid

Video transcript

Section 21 eviction notices are going to be scrapped.

But landlords can still use them for now.

If you’ve had a section 21, here are some things that could make it invalid:

1. It’s on the wrong form

Section 21s must be on form 6A.

2. It’s too early

A section 21 cannot be used in the first 4 months of your tenancy.

Also, it can only be used in a fixed term if you have a break clause in your tenancy.

3. Not enough notice

A section 21 must give you at least 2 months' notice.

4. Your deposit was not properly protected

Your landlord has 30 days to protect your deposit. If they do not, they must return your money to you before giving you a section 21.

5. No paperwork

Before they can give you a section 21, your landlord must give you a How to Rent guide, an energy performance certificate, and a gas safety certificate.

6. Charging banned fees

If your deposit was worth more than 5 weeks’, or you paid admin fees, your money needs to be returned to you before you can be served a section 21.

7. Your property needs to be licensed but it is not

Most large shared houses need to be licensed. In some areas, all rentals need a licence. Unlicensed properties mean no section 21.

8. Your council has taken action over serious health issues in your home

Your landlord cannot use a section 21 for 6 months if your council has given them an improvement notice or an emergency works notice.

Even if your section 21 is valid, you do not have to leave when it expires. Your landlord still has to apply to court, and only court bailiffs can evict you.

Our Shelter adviser explains why a section 21 notice might not be valid.

1. Are the form and dates right?

Your section 21 notice must be on Form 6A.

Your notice will not be valid if:

  • the notice period is less than 2 months

  • you get the notice during the first 4 months of your original tenancy

  • your landlord applies to court more than 6 months after giving you the notice

The notice period runs from the date your landlord gives you the notice until the date the notice says you have to leave by.

You do not have to leave by the date on the section 21 notice.

Your landlord has to apply to court to end your tenancy if you stay.

2. Is your deposit protected?

Your landlord cannot give you a valid section 21 if:

  • your deposit is not protected in a scheme

  • it was protected late

For most renters, late protection means more than 30 days after your most recent contract started.

If you paid your deposit before 6 April 2012, there are different rules about late protection.

Check your tenancy deposit is protected.

Find out about the tenancy deposit protection rules.

If your landlord or agent break these rules, they must return your deposit before they can give you a section 21 notice.

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

3. Have you had your tenancy documents?

Your landlord cannot usually give you a valid section 21 notice unless they have already given you copies of the:

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

You should get all these documents before the start of your tenancy.

Your landlord can give them to you later and still give a section 21 notice as long as you get them before the section 21.

All the documents must be current copies when your landlord gives them to you. The EPC and How to rent guide could be out of date by the time you get the section 21 but a gas safety certificate must be the current copy.

Gas safety certificates are only valid for 1 year but EPCs are valid for 10 years.

4. Charged too much deposit or a banned fee?

If your tenancy started on or after 1 June 2019, most tenancy related fees are banned. This includes tenancy renewals on or after this date. If your tenancy started before this date, the ban only applies to fees charged from 1 June 2020.

Landlords and agents can only:

  • take up to 5 weeks' rent as a deposit

  • charge fees in certain situations

If your landlord overcharged you, they must pay back any overcharged fees or deposit before they can give you a section 21 notice.

If your letting agent overcharged you, your landlord can still give you a section 21 notice. But you could argue that the agent did it on the landlord's behalf.

5. Does your landlord need a licence?

Many houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), such as bedsits and B&Bs, need a licence.

In some areas all private landlords must have a licence.

A landlord who needs a licence cannot serve a valid section 21 notice unless they have or have applied for a:

  • a licence from the council

  • temporary exemption

Ask the council if your landlord needs a licence.

6. Is it revenge eviction because of repairs?

Some landlords try to evict tenants who ask for repairs.

You can sometimes stop a revenge eviction.

The section 21 notice will not be valid if you complained to your council about repairs and they gave your landlord:

  • an improvement notice

  • an emergency works notice

Your landlord cannot use a section 21 notice for 6 months after they get one of these.

The section 21 notice could also not be valid if:

  • you got it after writing to your landlord about repairs or bad conditions

  • the council then gives your landlord an improvement or emergency works notice

The council might only give your landlord a hazard awareness notice.

This does not protect you from revenge eviction.

If the notice is valid

Your tenancy continues until either:

  • you leave the property voluntarily

  • you're evicted through the legal process

Find out about staying after a section 21 notice.

Last updated: 9 July 2024

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