Section 21 eviction

How to check a section 21 notice is valid

Some landlords make mistakes on the notice or can't use the section 21 eviction process because they've broken other rules.

If the notice is not valid, your landlord can't use it to evict you. They need to give you a valid notice to start the legal eviction process.

If the notice is valid, your tenancy continues until you leave the property voluntarily or are evicted through the legal process. Find out about staying after a section 21 notice.

1. Check the form and dates

Your section 21 notice must be on Form 6A if your tenancy started or was renewed on or after 1 October 2015.

Your notice won't be valid in the following situations:

  • you're not given enough notice

  • your landlord waits too long to apply to court

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

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

How much notice you're entitled to depends on when you were given notice.

Notice periods have changed several times because of coronavirus.

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

If you got your notice before spring 2021 it will have expired unless your landlord has already started court action.

Your landlord must give you a new notice if they still want you to leave.

2. Is your deposit protected?

Your landlord cannot give you a valid section 21 if your deposit is not protected in a scheme or it was protected late.

For most renters, late protection of your deposit 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 used before they can give you a valid section 21 notice.

3. Have you had your tenancy documents?

Your landlord can't usually give you a valid section 21 notice unless they have given you current copies of the following documents:

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

You should be given all these documents before the start of your tenancy. But your landlord could give them to you later and still give a section 21 notice as long as you get them before the section 21.

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?

Landlords and agents can only:

  • take up to 5 weeks' rent as a deposit

  • charge fees in certain situations

Most tenancy related fees are banned.

Your landlord can't give you a valid section 21 notice if they took a higher deposit or a banned fee unless they return the overcharged amount first.

But if an agent overcharged you, the landlord can still give you a section 21 notice.

5. Does your landlord need a licence?

Many houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), such as bedsits and B&Bs, need a licence. Some councils require all private landlords to have a licence.

A landlord who needs a licence can’t serve a valid section 21 notice unless they either:

  • have a licence from the council

  • have applied for a licence or a temporary exemption

Ask the council if your landlord needs a licence:

6. Has the council ordered repairs?

Your landlord can't give you a valid section 21 notice for the next 6 months if the council orders your landlord to do repairs under either an:

  • improvement notice

  • emergency works notice

A section 21 notice could also become invalid if you got it after making a written complaint to your landlord about conditions in your home. This happens if you then complain to the council and they serve an improvement or emergency works notice on your landlord.

Find out more about when you're protected from revenge eviction.

Last updated: 30 September 2021

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