Section 21 eviction
Staying after a section 21 notice
Your landlord can apply to court to evict you after a section 21 notice ends. This starts the next stage in the eviction process. But your tenancy continues until you either:
agree to leave
are evicted by court bailiffs
The full eviction process can take several months.
Most private tenancies end through agreement with the landlord rather than eviction.
Make sure your landlord knows that you will be staying after the notice ends.
Your rights after a section 21
You have the right to live in your property undisturbed even if you owe rent or your landlord starts court action.
If your tenancy agreement says you should let future tenants in for viewings, the landlord or agent can only enter your home with your permission and at a reasonable time.
Your landlord's responsibilities continue, including carrying out repairs.
Ending your tenancy legally
Make sure you end your tenancy legally if you're willing to move out.
Write to your landlord by post or 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 court action.
Giving notice to your landlord
If you cannot agree on a tenancy end date, you can usually end your tenancy by giving notice.
Your landlord can evict you without a court order if you give them a valid notice.
Only give notice under a break clause or notice to quit if you're sure you can leave by the date in the notice.
Agreeing to end the tenancy
Some landlords suggest ending the tenancy by agreement instead of eviction through the courts.
This is sometimes called a 'mutual surrender'.
Although a tenancy surrender can save you court costs it is unlikely to be a good option until you have found somewhere else to live.
Do not sign anything that could end your right to live in your home if you have nowhere else to go.
If you have rent arrears
You do not have to move out early even if you have rent arrears, especially if you have nowhere to move to.
If your rent is no longer affordable, for example, because of a job loss or relationship breakdown, it might not be reasonable for you to stay there in the long term.
Look for somewhere cheaper to rent. You can ask the council for help with this.
If you cannot find anywhere else to rent
Do not move out if you have nowhere else to move to.
It's usually better to stay where you are until you've found somewhere new to live. You can ask your council to help you find somewhere.
Moving in with family or friends
Check how long you can stay with family or friends before giving up your tenancy.
The council could decide you're intentionally homeless if you give up your tenancy voluntarily and then need homeless help later on.
If your landlord starts court action
Your landlord can start court action once the date on the section 21 notice has passed.
Ask your landlord to delay court action if you're looking for somewhere else to live.
If you are evicted you might have to pay court costs. This will be around £500 if you're evicted by bailiffs and could be more if there's a hearing.
Ask your council for help with costs if you've asked them for support but they say you must stay.
If the section 21 is not valid you can challenge the eviction in court. If the judge dismisses the case you can stay in your home and will not have to pay court costs.
Your landlord might serve a new notice to start the process again.
Last updated: 28 November 2022