What Landlords Need To Know About Evictions: England and Wales

Tenants are granted certain protections and failure to follow the correct legal process could result in your eviction being illegal.

Landlord Tenant Law

There may be instances where you need to evict your tenant. For example, if they’ve not paid their rent or they’ve damaged the property. There are certain instances where you don’t necessarily need a reason to evict your tenant.

However, tenants are granted certain protections from eviction and you must follow the right process. Failure to follow the correct legal process could result in your eviction being illegal.

Eviction notices

In England and Wales, there are two ways of evicting a tenant on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. One is through the use of a Section 21 Notice and the other is through the use of a Section 8 Notice.

Section 21 Notice

A Section 21 Notice is also known as a “no-fault” eviction notice because the landlord does not necessarily need a reason to evict the tenant or the tenant does not need to be at fault to get evicted.

It’s important to note that you use the correct notice. England and Wales have different eviction notices.

You must serve the correct notice, based on where the property is located:

Section 21 (Form 6A) Notice if the property is in England

Section 21 Notice for Wales if the property is located in Wales

These notices are prescribed government documents and they have a set format and wording. Each notice also requires you to give notice to your tenant. This is to ensure that the tenant is provided with sufficient time to either find a new place to live or to seek legal advice and defend the eviction.

Landlords cannot serve a section 21 notice within the first four months of a fixed-term from the start of the original tenancy. For example, if a tenancy commenced on the 15th of April, you would not be able to serve notice until after four months have passed (ie after the 15th of August).

The tenant must be given two months’ notice to vacate the property. This means that the expiry date of the notice cannot be the same as the last day of a six-month tenancy.

For example, if a six month AST started on the 1st January with an end date of 1st July, the eviction notice cannot be served until after 1st May and the tenant must be given two months’ notice to leave the property. Therefore, the expiry date will always be a few days after the last day of the fixed-term even though the fixed-term ends on the 1st of July. The notice period will always expire a few days after the end of a six-month fixed-term.

It’s also important to note that before serving a Section 21 Notice, that you as a landlord, have complied with all the legal formalities such as ensuring the deposit has been protected, that the tenant was given a gas safety certificate, and an up-to-date energy performance certificate.

For more information, you can read:

Repossessing property – Section 21 notices if the property is in England

Repossessing property in Wales if the property is in Wales

Section 8 Notice

A Section 8 Notice is an eviction notice that can only be used in very limited and specific legal situations.

A Section 8 Notice is a notice seeking possession of a rented property from a tenant on specific legal grounds.

The following are examples of the most common grounds used for possession of property:

Ground 8 is mandatory and if successful, the court must make a possession order in 14 days without the need for the landlord to show the court that it would be reasonable for the tenant/s to lose their home. However, it must be satisfied that when the notice is served and at the time of hearing there are relevant amounts of rent outstanding:

  • at least eight weeks of arrears, where rent is payable weekly or every two weeks;
  • at least two months of arrears, where rent is payable monthly;
  • more than three months in arrears, where the rent is payable every three months;
  • more than three months in arrears, where the rent is payable yearly.

Ground 10 applies if the rent is unpaid when the Section 8 Notice is served and has not been paid by the start of the possession proceedings.

Ground 11 applies if the tenant has regularly been late in paying the rent whether or not the tenant is actually in arrears.

Once completed the Section 8 Notice must be served on the tenant personally or by post sent by recorded delivery.

Once the tenant receives the Notice, the landlord must wait until the date specified in the Notice has expired. The amount of notice your tenant must be given will depend on what grounds for the possession you have used. Normally (underground 8), your tenant will get at least 14 days’ notice.

A Section 8 Notice can be more difficult to use as the landlord must show that they can satisfy these legal grounds.

For further information read Repossessing property – Section 8 notices.

If the tenant doesn’t leave after being served eviction notices

If the tenant refuses to leave after being served with a valid eviction notice, then it may be necessary to apply to the court for an eviction order. You can only forcibly evict the tenant through the use of a court possession order and potentially with the use of court-appointed bailiffs.

When serving a section 21 notice, the landlord or landlord’s agent must keep records and all evidence that they have complied with the requirements to serve a section 21 notice. It’s recommended to use a checklist to ensure that all the requirements have been met and ensure that there is a way to confirm receipt of all the relevant documents and prescribed information on the tenant.

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