The following advice only applies to shorthold tenancies. The two types of assured shorthold tenancies are:
Sometimes a tenant will not answer the door, so can't have notice served on them. The way to deal with this is to take a witness and put the notice through the letterbox before 5pm. It is then deemed to have been served on the following day.
If this is inconvenient or it is difficult for you to visit the property personally or if you are worried about a confrontation with a tenant, use a professional process server.
If you’re looking to notify your tenant that you’d like them to leave your property, it will be necessary to serve either a Section 21 or Section 8 notice under the Housing Act 1988.
Even if you have good grounds for eviction, it might be more effective to serve a section 21 notice.
For example, if the fixed term tenancy is coming to an end or the tenancy agreement includes a break clause which can be triggered to bring the tenancy to an early end.
You can, however, serve both a Section 21 and a Section 8 notice at the same time, and issue court proceedings based on one or both notices.
The notices are totally independent and served for distinct reasons, but produce the same outcome - you get your property back.
If you or your letting agent don’t protect a tenant’s deposit, it can can prevent you from using a section 21 notice to recover possession of your property.
A Section 21 notice isn’t technically an eviction notice, but a notice to inform the tenant that you, the landlord, wish to recover possession of the property once they've left.
The first step is to give the tenant no less than two months' notice that you need them to vacate the premises at the end of the tenancy.
If a fixed term of the tenancy has come to an end or there is a break clause that can be triggered, you can serve a Section 21 notice of possession.
You can serve it even if the tenant hasn’t done anything wrong and you don’t have to provide a reason for recovering vacant possession of the property.
But, a Section 21 notice must be served correctly if you want to be able to enforce it in court.
Here are some dos and don’ts for serving a Section 21 notice:
The Deregulation Act 2015 introduced changes to the way in which tenancies can be brought to an end using the Section 21 procedure.
Originally it only applied to tenancies that were agreed on or after 1 October 2015. But, from 1 October 2018 it applies to all tenancies - regardless of when it was agreed.
The most important rules are:
The tenant must also be given the following information when they start renting for a Section 21 to be valid:
If you have grounds to evict a tenant, you can start the eviction process by serving a Section 8 notice seeking possession.
The grounds for serving a Section 8 eviction order are set out in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988.
The most common reasons for evicting a tenant are:
You must give your tenant a postal address in England or Wales that they can use for correspondence before rent can be treated as due.
To give your tenants notice using a Section 8, you must fill in a ‘Notice seeking possession of a property let on an assured tenancy or an assured agricultural occupancy’.
You must specify on the notice what terms of the tenancy have been breached and have to give between two weeks’ and two months’ notice depending on which terms you are relying on.
You’ll then need to apply to the court for a possession order if your tenants do not leave by the specified date.
Here are some dos and don’ts for serving a Section 8 notice:
If you’re tenant refuses to leave after being served an eviction notice you can take action
You can use an accelerated possession order if you served a Section 21 notice, there is a written tenancy agreement and you are not claiming any unpaid rent.
You can use the standard possession claim if you served either a section 8 or 21 notice, or want to get your property back and at the same time claim rent arrears from the tenant.
If the tenant fails to vacate after the order for possession has expired, it will be necessary to instruct the County Court Bailiff to evict – this may take a further four to six weeks or more depending on the County Court.
For standard possession claims you need to find the County Court for the area where the property is situated, then fill in a Form N5 claim for possession and N119 particulars of claim for possession:
You will not be able to use the online service for some kinds of standard possession claim, for example where you are making a claim against a squatter or trespasser.
You can opt for an accelerated possession order if your tenants haven’t left by the date specified in your Section 21 notice, there is a written tenancy agreement and you aren’t claiming rent arrears.
The accelerated possession procedure is sometimes a quicker way to gain possession as there is usually no court hearing, but you will need to pay the court fee before the action can commence.
For accelerated possession you need to find the County Court for the area where the property is situated, then fill in a Form N5B claim for possession (accelerated procedure):
The court will then send a copy of the application to the tenant, together with a form of reply allowing the tenant to lodge an objection within 14 days, if they wish to.
If successful, you will get an order for possession without a hearing (normally enforceable 14 days after the order is made) and an order that the tenant pay the court fee.
If the paperwork is not in order or if your tenant raises an important issue in their objection, there might be a court hearing.
From the issue of proceedings to receipt of the order for possession, these proceedings normally take between six and ten weeks assuming nothing goes wrong.
What you need to know about leasing a property under the new tenancy in Scotland:
The Department for Communities and Local Government has produced guides which include useful tips for both landlords and tenants.