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Landlords: Eviction and Section 21

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If you’re a landlord and you want to evict a tenant after the end of a fixed term agreement it can be a complicated process. It’s essential that you get everything correct; otherwise your case could be rejected by the courts. The process could then end up costing you more and taking longer, so make sure you understand exactly what you’re doing.

What is a Section 21 notice?

If your tenants have an assured shorthold tenancy agreement and you want to regain possession of the property once the fixed term has ended, then you need to apply for a Section 21 notice. This is covered by Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. There are different procedures that apply to the various subsections, which will depend on when the notice is served and the type of tenancy agreement in place.

You don’t have to give a reason for evicting them to gain a Section 21 notice. However, you cannot ask them to leave the property before the end of the fixed term and tenants must be given a minimum of two months notice. This date starts from when the notice is received, not from when it is written or sent.

When can you give notice?

The Section 21 notice can be given at anytime within the tenancy agreement, as long as the deposit has been received and put in a tenancy deposit scheme. However, you must ensure that the date for possession is at least the day after the fixed period has ended.

Flats section 21 notice

If the fixed term has already ended and a new one hasn’t been agreed, the tenants will have a Periodic Tenancy. You may still issue them with a Section 21 notice at any point, as long as you provide them with at least two months notice. The date they have to move out must be the day after a tenancy period ends. This is determined by how often they pay rent, so at the end of a monthly or weekly rent period.

What problems might there be?

If you agree to the tenants remaining in the property after the date they should have moved out, then you can still regain possession but you’ll need to serve another notice with an additional two months. If they have a new fixed term tenancy, then you must wait until this finishes before they have to move out.

You must ensure that the tenant’s deposit has been placed in a secure scheme within 30 days of receiving it. If this hasn’t happened then the tenants can request the full amount back or you can agree to return a percentage. If the deposit isn’t within a protected scheme you can’t issue a Section 21 notice unless you’ve returned part or all of the money.

If a tenant doesn’t leave the property by the possession date, then you can apply for a possession order. The court will usually grant this if all the correct procedures in serving the notice have been followed. If the tenants still don’t vacate, you can use county court bailiffs to evict them.

If any of the details within the Section 21 notice are incorrect, it could be rejected when it reaches court. This will mean you’ll have to issue a second notice with a new two month period, which will cost you more and mean the process takes longer. Therefore, it’s worth ensuring that everything is done correctly in the beginning.




About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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