Private renting for tenants: tenancy agreements

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.

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
  • you haven’t made a complaint to the council about the living conditions in the property that resulted in the council serving a notice to the landlord (for tenancies starting after 30 September 2015)

If your tenancy started after 30 September 2015 your landlord can’t evict you unless they’ve given you:

They have to use the form ‘Notice seeking possession of a property let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (Form 6a)’.

During the fixed term

If you’re still in the fixed term, your landlord can only ask you to leave if they have a reason or ‘grounds’ for wanting possession that’s in the Housing Act 1988. Examples of the grounds include:

  • you’re behind with your rent payments (‘in arrears’)
  • you’ve used the property for illegal purposes, like 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 grounds they’re using.

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 weekly, you’ll get one 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.

Break clauses

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.