Section 21 eviction

How to check a section 21 notice is valid

Coronavirus update:

You're now entitled to 3 months’ notice. This won’t apply if you got your notice before 26 March 2020.

But all court action for eviction has been suspended until the end of June, so your landlord can't take things further at the moment.

'An incorrect notice could mean more time in your home'

Our housing adviser Nadeem shows you how to check if your section 21 notice has been served correctly. [Video length 01:52]

1. Check the form and dates

Your landlord can't give you a valid section 21 notice during the first 4 months of your original contract.

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

You must get at least 2 months' written notice.

You're entitled to notice equal to your rental period if you pay rent quarterly or every 6 months.

Your landlord must start court action within 6 months. The notice becomes invalid if they wait longer than this.

2. Find out if your deposit is protected

A section 21 notice is invalid if either:

  • your deposit is not protected in a scheme
  • it was protected more than 30 days after your most recent contract started

If your landlord breaks these rules, they can only serve a valid section 21 notice if they return your deposit first.

The 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.

The tenancy deposit protection rules also apply to agents.

3. Check your tenancy-related documents

A section 21 notice can be invalid if you receive it before your landlord gives you a current copy of the following documents:

This doesn't apply if your tenancy started before 1 October 2015 and has not been renewed since.

4. If you're overcharged for a fee or deposit

From 1 June 2019 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 after this date unless they return the overcharged amount first.

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

5. Find out if your landlord needs 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:

  • are licensed
  • have applied for a licence or temporary exemption from licensing

Ask the council if your landlord needs a licence:

Find your council's details on GOV.UK

6. If the council order repairs to your home

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 be invalid if you got it after making a written complaint to your landlord about conditions in your home. It becomes invalid if you 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 if you ask for repairs.

Still need help?

If you think your notice is invalid and need further advice:

Contact a Shelter adviser online, by phone or in person

Last updated 17 Oct 2018 | © Shelter

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