1. 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 don’t, 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.

If you don’t leave at the end of the notice period, they must apply to the court for a possession order, which gives them the right to evict you and take possession of the property.

If the court gives your landlord a possession order and you still don’t leave, your landlord must apply for a warrant for eviction - this means bailiffs can remove you from the property.

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

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.

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 haven’t 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 won’t 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 doesn’t 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 don’t leave, your landlord must apply for a warrant for eviction - this means bailiffs can remove you from the property.

Rules for excluded tenancies or licenses

If you have an excluded tenancy or licence (eg you live with your landlord), your landlord doesn’t have to go to court to evict you.

Your landlord only needs to give you ‘reasonable notice’ to quit. The notice doesn’t 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 don’t 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.

Shelter has more information about assured tenancies and regulated tenancies.

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