Evicting tenants (England and Wales)

2. Section 21 and Section 8 notices

You can evict tenants who have an assured shorthold tenancy using a Section 21 or Section 8 notice, or both.

Use a Section 8 notice if your tenants have broken the terms of the tenancy.

Section 21 notice of seeking possession

You can use a Section 21 notice to evict your tenants either:

  • after a fixed term tenancy ends - if there’s a written contract
  • during a tenancy with no fixed end date - known as a ‘periodic’ tenancy

Speak to a solicitor if you don’t know which notice to give.

When you can’t use a Section 21 notice

You can’t use a Section 21 notice if any of the following apply:

  • it’s less than 6 months since the tenancy started
  • the fixed term hasn’t ended, unless there’s a clause in the contract which allows you to do this
  • the property is categorised as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) and doesn’t have a HMO licence from the council
  • the council has served an improvement notice on the property in the last 6 months
  • the council has served a notice in the last 6 months that says it will do emergency works on the property
  • the tenancy started after April 2007 and you haven’t put the tenants’ deposit in a deposit protection scheme

You also can’t use a Section 21 notice if you haven’t given the tenants copies of:

Giving tenants a Section 21 notice

You must give your tenants the Section 21 notice by filling in form 6a if the tenancy started or was renewed after 30 September 2015.

Otherwise, you can write your own Section 21 notice. If it’s a periodic tenancy, you must explain that you’re giving notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

How much notice you need to give

A Section 21 notice must always give your tenants at least 2 months’ notice to leave your property.

If it’s a periodic tenancy, you must also let your tenants stay for any additional time covered by their final rent payment.

After you give notice

Keep proof that you gave notice to your tenants - either:

If your tenants don’t leave by the specified date, you can use your completed N215 or notice to apply for an accelerated possession order.

Section 8 notice of seeking possession

To give your tenants notice using a Section 8, you must fill in a ‘Notice seeking possession of a property let on an assured tenancy or an assured agricultural occupancy’. Specify on the notice which terms of the tenancy they’ve broken.

You can give between 2 weeks’ and 2 months’ notice depending on which terms they’ve broken.

You can apply to the court for a possession order if your tenants don’t leave by the specified date.

You can get legal advice on how to fill in a Section 8 with the correct notice periods and how to give it to your tenants. Find a solicitor.