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Tenant eviction – How to legally evict a tenant


Are you planning to evict your tenants in the next period? Read on® this article to find out what steps you should take to ensure you do effectively and legally.

We love our tenants but we also need to act in the best interest of our landlords too. That is why we respect the fairness of both contracting parties.

First of all, you can find the entire procedure of evicting tenants in England and Wales on the government website.

You must follow strict procedures if you want your tenants to leave your property because you may be guilty of harassing or illegally evicting if you do not follow the correct procedures. The exact procedure will depend on the tenancy agreement and its terms.

Tenancy Types

Assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs)

The most common form of tenancy is an AST and most new tenancies are automatically this type. A tenancy can be an AST if all of the following apply:

  • you’re a private landlord or housing association;
  • the tenancy started on or after 15 January 1989;
  • the property is your tenants’ main accommodation;
  • you don’t live in the property.
  • A tenancy can’t be an AST if:

  • it began or was agreed before 15 January 1989;
  • the rent is more than £100,000 a year;
  • the rent is less than £250 a year (less than £1,000 in London);
  • it’s a business tenancy or tenancy of licensed premises;
  • it’s a holiday let;
  • the landlord is a local council.
  • Other tenancies

    Excluded tenancies or licences: If you have a lodger living in your home and share rooms with them, like a kitchen or bathroom, you may have one of these. This usually gives your lodger less protection from eviction than other types of agreement.

    Assured tenancies: Tenancies starting between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997 may be assured. Your tenants have increased protection from eviction with this type of agreement.

    Regulated tenancies: Tenancies starting before 15 January 1989 may be regulated. Your tenants have increased protection from eviction and can apply for a ‘fair rent’.

    Assured Shorthold Tenancies

    The 2 types of assured shorthold tenancies are ‘periodic’ (these run week by week or month by month with no fixed end date) and the fixed term tenancies (these run for a set amount of time). You must follow a set process if your tenants have an assured shorthold tenancy:

    1. Give your tenants a Section 21 notice if you want the property back after a fixed term ends. Give them a Section 8 notice if they’ve broken the terms of the tenancy.

    You can use a section 21 notice after a fixed term tenancy ends (if there’s a written contract) or during a tenancy with no fixed end date (known as a ‘periodic’ tenancy). You must give your tenants the Section 21 notice by filling in form 6a if the tenancy started or was renewed after 30 September 2015. Otherwise, you can write your own Section 21 notice. If it’s a periodic tenancy, you must explain that you’re giving notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

    A Section 21 notice must always give your tenants at least 2 months’ notice to leave your property. If it’s a periodic tenancy, you must also let your tenants stay for any additional time covered by their final rent payment.

    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’. Specify on the notice which terms of the tenancy they’ve broken. You can give between 2 weeks’ and 2 months’ notice depending on which terms they’ve broken. You can apply to the court for a possession order if your tenants do not leave by the specified date. You can get legal advice on how to fill in a Section 8 with the correct notice periods and how to give it to your tenants.

    2. Apply to the court for a standard possession order if your tenants do not leave by the date specified on the notice and they owe you rent. You can apply for a accelerated possession order if you’re not claiming any unpaid rent.

    You can apply for an accelerated possession order if your tenants have not left by the date specified in your Section 21 notice and you’re not claiming rent arrears. This is sometimes quicker than applying for a standard possession order and there’s usually no court hearing. It costs £355.

    3. Apply for a warrant for possession if your tenants still will not leave – this means bailiffs can remove the tenants from your property.

    You can ask the court for an ‘warrant for possession’ if your tenants do not leave your property by the date given in an order for possession. It costs £121. When the court issues a warrant, your tenants will be sent an eviction notice giving a date by when they must leave your property. If your tenants do not leave your property you’ll need to ask for a warrant of possession to arrange for a bailiff to evict them.

    Excluded tenancies or licences

    You do not have to go to court to evict your tenants if they have an excluded tenancy or licence, for example if they live with you.

    You only need to give them ‘reasonable notice’ to quit. Reasonable notice usually means the length of the rental payment period, so if your tenants pay rent weekly you can give them one week’s notice. The notice does not have to be in writing. Also you can then change the locks on their rooms, even if they still have belongings in there.

    Assured and regulated tenancies

    If your tenants started their tenancy before 27 February 1997, they might have an assured or regulated tenancy. You’ll then have to follow different rules to evict them and they’ll have increased protection from eviction.

    Remember that this is just a guide. If you are in any doubt about your legal position, you should consult a solicitor.

    If you are unsure what is the best option for you, contact our teams. Call us on 0800 862 0870 or book your free valuation today.

    Tenant eviction – How to legally evict a tenant
    By Local Estate Agent