Housing advice: my landlord has asked me to leave

Important Information

There are different ways that your landlord can ask you to leave your home. The rules are different if you rent from the Council, a housing association or a private landlord. To get the right advice, it is important that you know the type of tenancy agreement that you have. Shelter (external link) have a tool that can help you with this.

If you are concerned that your landlord may evict you, it is important that you contact us for advice as soon as possible. We will try and work with you and your landlord to find out the reason they want to evict you to see if we can help you stay in your home.

Ending a tenancy: private tenants

If you have an assured shorthold tenancy (most private tenants will have an assured shorthold tenancy), your landlord must follow the correct legal procedure which starts with either a section 21 or section 8 notice being served. A section 21 notice can be served at any time, must give you at least 8 weeks to leave the property and the date you must leave must not be before the actual end date of your tenancy. Your landlord does not need a reason to serve a section 21 notice. If your landlord thinks you have breached the terms of your tenancy agreement for example you are at least 2 months in arrears with your rent, a section 8 notice can be served. 

If you have received either a section 21 or section 8 notice and do not move out at the end of the notice period, your landlord must apply to the county court for a possession order. If the court says you must leave and you don't, your landlord must apply for a bailiff's warrant to evict you.

Ending a tenancy: council and housing association tenants

If you are a Council or housing association tenant, you must be served with a notice seeking possession that sets out the reasons they want to evict you and when they can start court action. The court will send you a form that tells you why you are being evicted and you have 14 days to submit a defence. A date and time will also be set for the hearing. It is important that you attend court. At the hearing the court can dismiss the case, adjourn the hearing to a later date, grant the possession order or grant the order but suspend it with conditions that you must keep to. If possession is granted and you do not leave by the date on the order, a bailiff's warrant will be applied for.

Ending a tenancy: lodgers

If you live with your landlord and share a kitchen, bathroom or other living accommodation with them, you are a lodger. Lodgers are excluded occupiers which means that your landlord can evict you without going to court. If you have a written agreement, this should say how much notice you should be given. If you don’t have a written agreement, your landlord only needs to give you reasonable notice. This does not have to be in writing. If you don’t move out, your landlord can evict you peaceably by for example, changing the locks while you are out. It is a criminal offence for a landlord to use or threaten violence while evicting you.

How to challenge an eviction

It is important that you talk to your landlord. You might be able to reach an agreement to stop the eviction. If you do not feel confident to do this, we can do it for you. If you receive court papers allowing you to submit a defence, it is important that you fill them in and send them back within the time given.

If a court date is set it is important that you attend as it will give you the best chance of keeping your home. If you do not attend, the court may make the order in your absence. Arrive at court at least 30 minutes early and ask if there is a court duty scheme. A housing adviser may be able to speak to the judge for you free of charge if you don't already have legal representation.

Your belongings

If you are evicted, your landlord must take reasonable care of any belongings you have left at the property. You should arrange to collect any items within a reasonable time. If you do not do this or your landlord can't make contact with you, they can sell anything that has been left in the property.

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