Private Renting: Eviction in England

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Health Assured team

11 January 2024

Private rental eviction in England will depend on what type of tenancy is in place and the exact terms of the contractual agreement. Landlords must follow the correct legal procedure when evicting tenants to ensure they do not face legal action. Therefore, it is essential that tenants also understand their rights and obligations under English Law.

Assured and regulated tenancies

Firstly, it is necessary to determine the start date of the tenancy. Those which started before 27th February 1997 may require for the landlord to follow a different process for eviction to what the law currently sets out. The below links explain what assured and regulated tenancies look like and the process required. However, there are very few of these that remain today.

https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/private_renting/assured_tenancies

https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/private_renting/regulated_tenancies

Excluded tenancies and licences

Where an individual does not have access to any part of the property, the agreement with the landlord is likely to be an excluded licence. But if the individual has exclusive access to their room, this will be an excluded tenancy.

These individuals can be evicted with written or verbal ‘reasonable notice’. Reasonable in this context will be the period of rental payment, meaning if rent is payable monthly, the landlord would be required to serve a one-month notice. However, this is not a hard and fast rule, the landlord can choose to give the individual more than ‘reasonable notice’ but cannot give less than this.

Assured shorthold tenancies (AST’s) – two types:

  • Fixed-Term Tenancies – these are tenancies which run for a fixed period (e.g., 1 year) and have an end date agreed.
  • Periodic Tenancies – these are tenancies which do not have a definite end date and run on either a weekly or monthly basis.

The link below explains in greater detail the different features of an AST: https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/private_renting/assured_shorthold_tenancies_with_private_landlords

AST evictions can be served using either s21 notices, s8 notices or both.


Section 21 notices

This is the most common way of ending fixed-term or period tenancies. The landlord must provide their tenant with a 2-month notice served on either a Form 6A or a document drafted by the landlord which includes the same information.

A landlord does not need to provide a reason for eviction, however, there are certain situations in which a s21 cannot be served. The link below discusses these reasons.

https://www.gov.uk/evicting-tenants/section-21-and-section-8-notices

Section 8 notices

S8 notices are used when a tenant has breached the terms of the tenancy agreement, and the landlord would like to seek possession of the property.

The landlord must serve and explain to the tenant on Form 3, the exact breach of tenancy terms. Notice can vary between two weeks to two months depending on the nature of the breach.

Landlords are advised to keep proof of s21 and s8 notice via an N215 Form or including the name of the landlord and the date the notice was served on the written notice.

Possession orders

Landlords will be required to use a standard possession order where tenants owe rent and an accelerated possession order where there are no rent arrears.

If tenants are still at the property past this notice period, landlords can use this evidence to apply for a standard possession order or an accelerated possession order. Once the application is made, the judge may automatically grant the order or decide to set a hearing.

You can read more about the different types of orders that can be granted using the following link: https://www.gov.uk/evicting-tenants/possession-hearings-and-orders

If a tenant does not comply with this order, the landlord can ask the court for a ‘warrant of possession’ which will set out a date the tenants must leave. Bailiffs can be used to remove tenants from the property if they fail to leave by the date set out on the warrant. A landlord can also achieve a quicker eviction by transferring the warrant to the high court for a ‘writ of possession’ allowing a High Court enforcement office to evict the tenants.


Illegal eviction

If a landlord does not follow the correct legal procedure, they could be committing the criminal offence of illegal eviction.

Read more about illegal evictions below:

https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/eviction/how_to_deal_with_illegal_eviction/what_is_an_illegal_eviction

Reform on notices

It is useful to bear in mind that the law is estimated to change in October of 2024, which will introduce more comprehensive possession grounds and require landlords to provide a valid reason when ending a tenancy, ultimately ending this concept of ‘no-fault evictions.’

You can read more about this here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guide-to-the-renters-reform-bill#background

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