Private renting for tenants: evictions

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Rules your landlord must follow

Your landlord must follow strict procedures if they want you to leave their property, depending on the type of tenancy agreement you have and the terms of it.

If they do not, they may be guilty of illegally evicting or harassing you.

Rules for periodic Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs)

Periodic tenancies run on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis with no fixed end date.

If you have one of these, your landlord must usually give you ‘notice to quit’ - they must do this in a certain way depending on your type of tenancy agreement and its terms.

Notice periods

Usually your landlord must give you up to 2 months’ notice. Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), the notice periods are longer.

If you were given notice between 26 March 2020 and 28 August 2020, your landlord must give you 3 months to leave the property.

If you’ve been given notice since 29 August 2020, your landlord must give you 6 months to leave. You might have to leave much sooner if you’re evicted using a section 8 notice, depending on the reason for eviction.

If you do not leave at the end of the notice period

If you do not leave at the end of the notice period, your landlord must apply to the court for a possession order. If the court gives them a possession order and you still do not leave, they must apply for a warrant for possession.

Rules for fixed-term ASTs

Fixed-term tenancies run for a set amount of time. Your landlord must give you notice in a certain way if you’re in a fixed-term tenancy.

Notice periods

Usually your landlord must give you up to 2 months’ notice. Because of coronavirus, the notice periods are longer.

If you were given notice between 26 March 2020 and 28 August 2020, your landlord must give you 3 months to leave the property.

If you’ve been given notice since 29 August 2020, your landlord must give you 6 months to leave. You might have to leave much sooner if you’re evicted using a section 8 notice, depending on the reason for eviction.

In Wales, the notice period must be:

If you do not leave at the end of the notice period

If you refuse to leave at the end of the notice period, the rules depend on whether the fixed term has ended or not.

Eviction during the fixed term

During the fixed term, your landlord can only evict you for certain reasons - for example:

  • you have not paid the rent
  • you’re engaging in antisocial behaviour
  • there’s a ‘break clause’ in your contract - this allows your landlord to take back the property before the end of the fixed term

A possession order will not take effect until you’ve been living in the property for at least 6 months.

Eviction at the end of the fixed term

At the end of the fixed term, the landlord does not need a reason to evict you. As long as they’ve given you correct notice, they can apply to the court for a possession order.

If the court gives your landlord a possession order and you still do not leave, your landlord must apply for a warrant for possession - this means bailiffs can evict you from the property.

Rules for excluded tenancies or licences

If you have an excluded tenancy or licence (for example you live with your landlord), your landlord does not have to go to court to evict you.

Your landlord only needs to give you ‘reasonable notice’ to quit. The notice does not have to be in writing.

There are no set rules about what’s reasonable. It depends on:

  • how long you’ve been living there
  • how often you pay the rent
  • whether you get on with your landlord
  • how quickly the landlord needs another person to move in

They can then change the locks on your rooms, even if you’ve left your belongings there. However, they must give your belongings back to you.

If you do not think you’ve been given enough warning to leave, contact your local council for advice. Your council can take action if your landlord has evicted you illegally.

Shelter has more information about eviction of excluded occupiers.

Rules for assured and regulated tenancies

If your tenancy started before 27 February 1997, you might have an assured or a regulated tenancy. Your landlord will have to follow different rules to evict you and you’ll have increased protection from eviction.

Usually your landlord must give you up to 2 months’ notice. Because of coronavirus, the notice periods are longer.

If you were given notice between 26 March 2020 and 28 August 2020, your landlord must give you 3 months to leave the property.

If you’ve been given notice on or after 29 August 2020, your landlord must give you 6 months to leave. You might have to leave much sooner if you’re evicted using a section 8 notice, depending on the reason for eviction.

In Wales, the notice period must be:

Shelter has more information about assured tenancies and regulated tenancies.

Shelter Cymru has more information about assured tenancies and regulated tenancies in Wales.