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Landlord's notice to end an introductory tenancy

A landlord must serve a section 128 notice on an introductory tenant before applying to the court for a possession order.

This content applies to England

Notice period and content

A landlord must serve a notice of proceedings for possession, known as section 128 notice, before going to court.

A section 128 notice specify a date after which possession proceedings can commence. This must be no earlier than the date on which the tenancy could be ended by notice to quit. This is the longer of either four weeks or a complete period of the tenancy. The specified date must be either the first or last day of the period of the tenancy.

Form of the notice

There is no prescribed form. The notice must:[1]

  • inform the tenant of the intention to seek an order for possession from the court

  • give the local authority or housing action trust's reasons for doing so

  • give the earliest date when proceedings may begin

  • inform the tenant of their right to seek a review within 14 days

  • inform the tenant that if they need help or advice about the notice, they should contact a Citizen's Advice Bureau, a housing aid centre, a law centre or a solicitor

A section 128 notice can be comprised of more than one document provided that the reasonable recipient would understand that the documents are intended to be read together.[2] For example a notice of proceedings for possession and an accompanying information leaflet.

Service of notice on introductory tenant

The notice must be served on the tenant.[3]

The Local Government Act 1972 allows a local authority to serve a notice authorised under any enactment by either:[4]

  • delivering it to the person

  • leaving it at their proper address

  • sending it by post to them at that address

The Court of Appeal found this applied to service of a notice of seeking possession on the mandatory ground for antisocial behaviour.[5] This is also likely to apply to a notice served on an introductory tenant.

Section 196 of the Law of Property Act 1925 allows for valid service of a notice to be made by registered post or recorded delivery, or personal delivery to the tenant's property if the tenancy agreement explicitly states that service will be effective where it is done in accordance with section 196. An agreement can provide expressly for service by these methods.[6]

Right of review after a section 128 notice

The tenant has 14 days after the section 128 notice has been served to request a review of the landlord's decision to end the tenancy.[7] There is no prescribed form for a tenant to request a review.

In a case where the landlord included an attached form, with the section 128 notice, informing the tenant that she should complete it in order to request a review, the notice was held not to be defective. Completing the form was just a recommendation and did not exclude other options for requesting a review.[8]

Regulations give details as to the specific procedure that must be followed on review.[9]

There can be no oral hearing unless the tenant has requested one within 14 days of service of the notice. If the tenant has requested an oral hearing in time, then the landlord must notify the tenant as to the date, time and place of the hearing, and the tenant must be allowed to state their case during the hearing. If the tenant has not requested an oral hearing in time, they can provide written representations

The review must be carried out by someone who was not involved in the original decision to seek possession

The landlord must carry out the review and inform the tenant of the outcome before the date for commencement of court proceedings given in the notice.[10] It must give reasons if the original decision is upheld.[11] The review should consider the merits of seeking possession in the particular case. Tenants can put forward evidence as to why they should not be evicted.

If the tenant's review is successful, they continue as an introductory tenant until the original trial period has come to an end.

Expiry of section 128 notice

The landlord must begin possession proceedings within 12 months of the start of the tenancy, or 18 months if the trial period has been properly extended.

If the landlord does not begin proceedings within that time, the tenancy automatically becomes secure. The date when proceedings begin is the date that the court issues the claim form, not the date the landlord issues possession proceedings, nor the date that the claim for possession and the particulars of the claim are received by the court.[12]

Once court proceedings have started, the tenancy remains introductory until the proceedings and any consequent appeals are completed, even if the trial period ends during this time. If the tenancy ceases to be introductory because the local authority or housing action trust revokes the introductory tenancy scheme or no longer fulfils the condition for granting secure tenancies then legal proceedings in progress can continue. They can be decided as if the tenancy were still introductory.[13]

The tenant might have a defence to possession proceedings if a section 128 is defective.

Covid-19: temporary extension of the minimum notice period

During the coronavirus pandemic the minimum notice periods were extended. Between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2021 introductory tenants were entitled to longer notices.[14]

The minimum notice periods were:[15]

  • four months for notices served between 1 June 2021 and 30 September 2021

  • six months for notices served between 29 August 2020 and 31 May 2021

  • three months for notices served between 26 March 2020 and 28 August 2020

In some circumstances the landlord could serve a shorter notice.

The government published technical guidance on eviction notices. This guidance was withdrawn on 25 March 2022. It contains a table summarising the minimum notice requirements for tenancies during coronavirus restrictions.

Last updated: 6 April 2023


  • [1]

    s.128 Housing Act 1996.

  • [2]

    Islington LBC v Dyer [2017] EWCA Civ 150.

  • [3]

    s.128(1) Housing Act 1985.

  • [4]

    s.233 Local Government Act 1972.

  • [5]

    Birmingham City Council v Bravington [2023] EWCA Civ 308.

  • [6]

    Wandsworth LBC v Attwell (1995) 27 HLR 536, CA; s.196 Law of Property Act 1925, as amended by the Recorded Delivery Service Act 1962.

  • [7]

    s.129 Housing Act 1996.

  • [8]

    Wolverhampton City Council v Helen Shuttleworth [2012] EWHC Birmingham District Registry.

  • [9]

    Introductory Tenants (Review) Regulations 1997 SI 1997/72.

  • [10]

    s.129(6) Housing Act 1996.

  • [11]

    s.128(5) Housing Act 1996.

  • [12]

    Salford CC v Garner [2004] EWCA Civ 364.

  • [13]

    s.130 Housing Act 1996.

  • [14]

    para 8 Sch 29 Coronavirus Act 2020, suspended by reg 2 The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies and Notices) (Amendment and Suspension) (England) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/994.

  • [15]

    para 8 Sch 29 Coronavirus Act 2020 as amended by reg 3(8) Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020/914 and reg 2(9) The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/564; para 1(1)(b)(i) Sch 29 Coronavirus Act 2020 as amended by 3(2)(i) The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/914, reg 2(2) The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/284 and reg 2(2) The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/564.