1. Overview

You must follow strict procedures if you want your tenants to leave your property.

Use ‘standard possession’ if you want your property back because your tenants owe you rent. If your tenant is on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, you can ask for the rent to be paid directly to you instead. This is known as ‘managed payments’.

You can use ‘accelerated possession’ if you’re not claiming unpaid rent.

You may be guilty of harassing or illegally evicting your tenants if you don’t follow the correct procedures.

There’s a different process to evict tenants in Northern Ireland.

Procedures for different types of tenancy

The exact procedure will depend on the tenancy agreement and its terms.

Assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs)

The 2 types of AST are:

  • ‘periodic’ tenancies - these run week-by-week or month-by-month with no fixed end date
  • fixed-term tenancies - these run for a set amount of time

You must follow a set process if your tenants have an AST.

  1. Give your tenants a Section 21 notice to quit. If they’ve broken the terms of the tenancy give them a Section 8 notice of seeking possession specifying which terms they’ve broken.

  2. Apply to the court for a standard possession order if your tenants don’t leave by the specified date. You can apply for an accelerated possession order if you’re not claiming any unpaid rent.

  3. Apply for a warrant for possession if your tenants still won’t leave - this means bailiffs can remove the tenants from your property.

Excluded tenancies or licences

You don’t have to go to court to evict your tenants if they have an excluded tenancy or licence, for example if they live with you.

You only need to give them ‘reasonable notice’ to quit. Reasonable notice usually means the length of the rental payment period, so if your tenants pay rent weekly you can give them one week’s notice. The notice doesn’t have to be in writing.

You can then change the locks on their rooms, even if they still have belongings in there.

Assured and regulated tenancies

If your tenants started their tenancy before 27 February 1997, they might have an assured or regulated tenancy. You’ll then have to follow different rules to evict them and they’ll have increased protection from eviction.

You can get information from Shelter about assured tenancies and regulated tenancies in England.

You can get information from Shelter Cymru about assured tenancies and regulated tenancies in Wales.

Tenants’ possessions

Find out what you should do if your tenants have left their belongings in your property.