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.

Your landlord may need to have given you specific documents for your notice to be valid. This depends on the type of tenancy agreement and its terms. For example, they may be required to give you a gas safety certificate, an energy certificate and a copy of the How to rent guide.

Assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs)

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

  • periodic tenancy (sometimes called a ‘rolling tenancy’)
  • a fixed-term tenancy that has ended

This is called a Section 21 notice.

To do this, all of the following must apply:

  • they’ve protected your deposit in a deposit protection scheme, if the tenancy began or was renewed on or after 6 April 2007
  • they’ve given you at least 2 months written notice that they want the property back (‘notice to quit’)
  • the date you must leave is at least 6 months after your original tenancy began (the date you moved in)

Your landlord must serve you notice using the correct form. Shelter has information on checking if your eviction notice is valid.

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:

If you’ve been 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

This is called a Section 8 notice.

The notice period your landlord gives you will depend on the reason (‘ground’). Read Annex A of the guidance for private tenants to find out more about notice periods.

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.

If you have an excluded tenancy or licence you can be evicted without a court order.