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.
Assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs)
In some circumstances, your landlord can take back their property without giving any reason. To do this, all of the following must apply:
- they’ve protected your deposit in a deposit protection scheme
- they’ve given you at least 2 months’ written notice that they want the property back (‘notice to quit’) and the date you must leave
- the date you must leave is at least 6 months after your original tenancy began (the one you had on first moving in)
- you have a periodic tenancy – or you have a fixed-term tenancy and your landlord isn’t asking you to leave before the end of the fixed term
During the fixed term
Examples of the grounds include:
- you’re behind with your rent payments (‘in arrears’)
- you’ve used the property for illegal purposes (eg selling drugs)
- your landlord wants to move back into the property
The notice period they must give varies from 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on the ground they’re using.
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 weekly, you’ll get 1 week’s notice.
The notice doesn’t 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.
If there’s a break clause in the tenancy agreement, your landlord can give you notice after this. However, your landlord doesn’t have a guaranteed right to possession during the first 6 months of the tenancy.
If you don’t leave the property
Your landlord can’t remove you by force. If the notice period expires and you don’t leave the property, your landlord may start the process of eviction through the courts.