Most people who rent from private landlords are assured shorthold tenants. For further information about tenancy agreements, please see our Landlord and Tenant section.
Assured shorthold tenancies are for a fixed period, typically 6 months. It is fairly easy to evict assured shorthold tenants after the fixed period has expired.
Although assured shorthold tenants have little protection against eviction, the notice requirements and procedures can be tricky.
There are two different procedures:
Section 21 Notices
You must give your tenant at least two months’ notice. You cannot ask them to leave before the fixed term has ended although the notice can be given during the fixed term.
Over the years, there has been a lot of confusion about the notice requirements and we often see notices which are invalid. Although the latest cases appear to be in the landlord’s favour, the law is constantly changing.
If the tenant has paid a deposit, this type of notice cannot be given unless the deposit has been protected in an authorised Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Please see our Landlord and Tenant section for further information.
If the tenant ignores the notice, you must apply to the court for a ‘possession order’. As long as the correct procedure has been followed, the court must make a possession order although tenants can ask the court to postpone the date for up to six weeks.
Section 8 Notices
During the fixed term, you can only evict tenants for good reason. The most common reason is rent arrears. You must send a notice to your tenants before applying to the court for a ‘possession order’. Depending on the reasons, there are no guarantees that the court will make an order. If you can wait until the fixed term has ended, it is often easier and just as quick to use the Section 21 Notice procedure.
In either case, if a tenant ignores the possession order, you can ask the court bailiffs to evict them from the property.
You should not try to evict tenants without getting a court order. You could face a substantial compensation claim for unlawful eviction or even criminal prosecution.