Private renting for tenants: tenancy agreements

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If your landlord wants to end your tenancy

If your landlord wants you to leave, they must give you notice in a particular way, including certain information and warnings. This depends on the type of tenancy agreement and its terms.

Some rules about length of notice have changed because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs)

Your landlord can take back their property without giving any reason if you have either:

  • a periodic tenancy
  • a fixed-term tenancy that has ended

To do this, both of the following must apply:

  • they’ve protected your deposit in a deposit protection scheme
  • the date you must leave is at least 6 months after your original tenancy began (the one you had on first moving in)

How much notice your landlord must give

They must give you written notice that they want the property back (‘notice to quit’). They must give you:

  • 2 months if they gave you notice before 26 March 2020
  • 3 months if they gave you notice between 26 March 2020 and 28 August 2020
  • 6 months if they gave you notice on or after 29 August 2020

This change is because of coronavirus.

The notice must tell you the date you have to leave.

If your tenancy started or was renewed after 1 October 2015

Your landlord cannot evict you if they’ve been served notice by the council because of a complaint you made to the council about the living conditions in the property.

Your landlord must also have given you:

In England, they must use ‘form 6a’ to give you notice. This is also known as ‘Notice seeking possession of a property let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy’. In Wales, they do not need to use form 6a but must give you notice in writing.

If you’re asked to leave during the fixed term

Your landlord can only ask you to leave during the fixed term if they have certain reasons (‘grounds’). For example, if:

  • you’re behind with your rent payments (‘in arrears’)
  • you’ve used the property for illegal purposes, like selling drugs
  • you’ve damaged the property

Usually, the notice period they must give varies up to 2 months.

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:

This is because of coronavirus.

Assured tenancies

Your landlord will need to use one of the reasons or ‘grounds’ for possession in the Housing Act 1988.

Excluded tenancies or licences

You’ll often have an excluded tenancy or licence if you live with your landlord as a lodger and share rooms with them.

Your landlord only needs to give ‘reasonable notice’ to quit. Usually this means the length of the rental payment period – so if you pay rent monthly, you’ll get one month’s notice.

The notice does not have to be in writing.

Non-excluded tenancy or licence

Your landlord can end the let at any time by serving a written ‘notice to quit’. The notice period will depend on the tenancy or agreement, but is often at least 4 weeks.

Break clauses

If there’s a break clause in the tenancy agreement, your landlord can give you notice after this. However, your landlord does not have a guaranteed right to possession during the first 6 months of the tenancy.

If you do not leave the property

Your landlord cannot remove you by force. If the notice period expires and you do not leave the property, your landlord may start the process of eviction through the courts.