You must follow strict procedures if you want your tenant to leave your property, depending on the type of tenancy agreement your tenants have and the terms of it.
You may be guilty of illegally evicting or harassing your tenants if you don’t follow the correct procedures.
In England and Wales, if you want to get your property back because your tenants owe you rent money, you can make a possession claim online.
Rules for Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs)
A periodic AST
Periodic tenancies run on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis, with no fixed end date. If your tenants have one of these:
You must usually give them ‘notice to quit’.
If your tenants don’t leave by the date on the notice to quit, you must send them a ‘notice of intention to seek possession’ - this tells them you’ll apply to the court for a possession order if they don’t leave.
You must then apply to the court for a possession order, which gives you the right to evict your tenants and take possession of the property.
If the court gives you a possession order and your tenants still don’t leave, you must apply for a warrant for eviction - this means bailiffs can remove your tenants from the property.
A fixed-term AST
Fixed-term tenancies run for a set amount of time. You must give your tenants notice in a certain way if your tenants have a fixed-term tenancy.
If your tenants refuse to leave after being given notice, you must follow the same steps as for a periodic tenancy, from step 2.
Rules for excluded tenancies or licenses
You don’t have to go to court to evict your tenants if they have an excluded tenancy or licence (eg 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 1 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 there. However, you must give your tenants’ belongings back to them.
Your council can take action against you if you evict your tenants illegally.
Rules for assured and regulated tenancies
If your tenants started their tenancy before 27 February 1997, they might have an assured or a regulated tenancy. You will then have to follow different rules to evict them and they’ll have increased protection from eviction.