Most people who rent privately have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) and the process for ending this type of tenancy is set out here.
Check your tenancy agreement and if you are unsure contact us.
I have been served with a Section 21 Notice
A Section 21 Notice is the form your landlord must give you to start the process of ending your assured shorthold tenancy.
It gives you notice to leave your home, but it's still legal for you to stay in your home after the date it expires.
Your landlord must follow a legal process that involves going to court to evict you. They cannot force you to leave and could be guilty of an illegal eviction if they do. Throughout the process you have the rights of an assured shorthold tenant and have to pay rent as usual.
Your landlord doesn't have to give a reason for wanting you to leave when they give you a Section 21 Notice.
The notice must:
- be in writing
- give you at least 2 months' notice
- follow certain rules to be valid, such as:
- served minimum of 4 months after the start of your original tenancy
- must start court action within 6 months of serving the section 21 notice
- If you pay your rent quarterly or every six months, you must be given one full rental period of notice
- You must have been issued with a gas safe certificate and energy performance certificate for your home before the S21 notice was served
- If your tenancy started or was renewed on or after 1 October 2015, the notice must be on form 6A.
If you want more detailed information on valid notices you can refer to Shelter's website.
What should I do?
Act immediately do not wait.
Contact your landlord to find out if there is any way you can stay in your home. If not, start to look for a new home in the private rented sector.
What can the Council do to help me?
They will draft a housing plan with you and explore a range of options including:
- negotiating with your landlord
- a referral to an agency such as the YMCA or the Foyer
- using their pay to save fund
- sign posting you to agencies for debt and welfare benefit advice
- assisting you in finding appropriate alternative accommodation within the private sector.
What happens when the Section 21 Notice expires?
The Housing Options Team will continue to work with you on the housing plan. If you haven't found a new home by the date the notice expires, you stay in your home. You are legally allowed to do so.
We will keep working with you to find a housing solution.
Your landlord can apply to a court for a possession order if you stay past the date given on the notice. After your landlord applies to the court you will be sent the relevant papers, including a defence form. The papers also tell you which type of possession proceedings your landlord is using.
You should complete and return the defence form to the court if you want to challenge the eviction or ask for more time to stay.
The court will decide if a hearing is needed when it receives your landlord's claim and your defence form if you returned it.
What happens if my landlord takes me to court?
If your landlord uses standard possession proceedings, you will be given a date for a court hearing. You can attend the hearing even if you didn't send your defence form to the court. In other types of possession proceeding, there may not be a hearing, the court makes a decision by looking at the papers.
The court can decide to:
- dismiss the case if the Section 21 Notice isn't valid
- order you to leave if the notice is valid.
If the case is dismissed, your landlord has to start the eviction process again if they still want you to leave.
If the court orders you to leave, it usually gives you 2 weeks but can allow up to 6 weeks. You will probably have to pay your landlord's court costs.
The court records its decision and any leaving date in a possession order.
What happens if the court orders me to leave my home?
Only court bailiffs can evict you from your home.
If you haven't found somewhere else to live and don't leave by the date set out in the possession order made by the court, your landlord can apply to the court for bailiffs to evict you. You get notice of the time and date of the eviction on a court document called Form N54. The bailiffs post this or deliver it by hand.
If you receive an eviction date, be prepared, packed and ready to hand back your keys on the day the bailiffs arrive.
You have to leave when the court bailiffs come to evict you.
What happens once I'm evicted and homeless?
If you haven't been in contact with the Housing Options Team before now or you have and we were unable to prevent you from becoming homeless, we may have a duty to help you as a homeless person.