If you are a private tenant and your landlord wants you to leave your home they must follow a strict legal procedure.
Usually a landlord can only evict you by going to Court. Depending on the reason the landlord wants to evict the notice period can be different.
Where the proper legal procedure is not followed a Court may say that it's an illegal eviction and/or harassment, and this would make your landlord guilty of a criminal offence.
Assured Shorthold Tenancies
If you are on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) then your landlord must firstly provide you with a written 'Notice to Quit' usually giving you at least 2 month's notice that you must leave, and the date you must leave on.
From the 1 October 2015 where tenancies start after this date the landlord cannot serve you with a section 21 notice to quite unless they have provided the tenant with a:
- Gas safety certificate
- Energy performance certificate
- How to rent: the checklist for renting in England
- Protected the deposit (where you have paid one) within one of the 3 tenancy deposit protection schemes.Please click here for further information on tenancy deposit protection
The notice cannot be served within the first four months of your tenancy.
A notice cannot be served if you have unsatisfactory housing conditions and Nottingham City Council have served the relevant notice, this is called retaliatory eviction. For more information click here.
If you are still within the fixed term of your AST then the landlord must have 'reasonable grounds' for asking you to leave. These grounds are detailed within the Housing Act 1988. In this instance the notice they must give depends upon the grounds they are using and can range between 2 weeks and 2 months.
If the fixed term of the tenancy has not ended then your landlord can only evict you for certain reasons such as non-payment of rent, anti-social behaviour, or because there's a 'break clause' in your contract. However, a possession order would have to be will not take effect until the fixed term of your tenancy has expired.
Once the fixed term has expired, as long as you have been provided with the correct notice (there is now a prescribed form which the landlord must use), the landlord can apply for a possession order from the Court.
Once the landlord has the possession order from Court, if you still fail to leave then your landlord must apply to the Court for a warrant of eviction. This warrant of eviction means that the bailiffs can remove you from the property.
Excluded Tenancy or Licence
If you have a resident landlord, or are a lodger, it is liked you are on an excluded tenancy or licence. In this instance the landlord only has to provide you with reasonable notice to quit, which should be the length of the rent payment period i.e. if you pay rent weekly, then a week's Notice, or if monthly, then you should be given a month's notice. This notice does not have to be in writing.
Once the notice period ends if you fail to leave the property the landlord can apply for a possession order from the Court.
Once the landlord has the possession order if you again fail to leave then you landlord must apply for a warrant of eviction. This warrant of eviction means that the bailiffs can remove you from the property.
In this instance the landlord is allowed to change the locks to your room, even if your belongings are still there, but they must give you them back.
Assured and Regulated Tenancies
If you have a tenancy agreement that started before the 27 February 1997 then you may have an Assured Periodic Tenancy, but this would only apply if you weren't given a Pre-Notice before the tenancy began that the tenancy was going to be a Shorthold.
If this is the case your landlord will have to follow a different procedure to evict you, and will have more protection from eviction. There are either compulsory or discretionary grounds for eviction, but the landlord will have to provide you with a written notice to quit, and the time of the notice can be from 2 weeks to 2 months.
Either way, once the notice period ends the landlord will still need to go to Court for it to be decided whether you can be evicted, and if the landlord is given a possession order and you still don't leave the landlord would still need to apply for a warrant of eviction at Court.
A few tenants may have a tenancy agreement that started before the 15 January 1989. If this is the case, it's likely that the tenancy is regulated.
Although the landlord must still serve Notice, and go to Court, it is more difficult for them to get an eviction warrant. For anyone with this kind of tenancy agreement it's important to get specialist advice, and important to remember that you have more rights to stay, not less.
Non Excluded Tenancy
If you have a non-excluded tenancy or licence agreement this means that you have permission to stay somewhere until proper notice is given in writing.
Once this has been done though, the landlord being able to evict is a formality. There is an entitlement to reasonable notice - and this should at least be the period of the rental - i.e. if you pay rent weekly, then a week's Notice, or if monthly, then you should be given a month's notice.
The landlord can serve a written notice to quit at any time. The notice period is often a minimum of 4 weeks but will depend on the detail of the agreement.
This is quicker than a normal eviction, but a landlord must still go to Court
Your landlord can only do this if:
- You have an assured shorthold tenancy or a statutory periodic tenancy
- You have a written tenancy agreement
- They have provided you with a notice to quit with a minimum of 2 months' notice
- They haven't asked you to leave before the end of a fixed-term
- They have grounds to evict you
In order to stop an accelerated possession the Court would need to believe that the landlord has not followed the above conditions.
The Court will send you a copy of the application for accelerated possession, and if you wish to challenge the application you must do so within 14 days of receiving it.
It will then be up to the judge to either grant a possession order or have a court hearing.
If a possession order is granted then you will have 14 or 28 days to leave. In exceptional circumstances where it would cause you exceptional hardship this may be extended to up to 42 days. If after this you do not leave then your landlord would still need to go back to Court to ask for a bailiff's warrant to evict you.
Harassment and Illegal Evictions
If your landlord is acting in a way that interferes with the enjoyment of living in your home; intends to make you leave without the correct notice or takes away your rights they could be guilty of harassment. The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 makes it an offence to:
- Act in a way that is likely to interfere with the peace or comfort of a tenant or anyone living with him or her
- Persistently withdraw or withhold services for which the tenant has a reasonable need to live in the premises as a home
Houses in Multiple Occupation - Licensing and Eviction
Where the property you are living in is subject to licensed under the Housing Act 2004 as an HMO, a Section 21 notice cannot be given in relation to an assured shorthold tenancy if it is a unlicensed HMO. If this is the case then please contact the HMO team.
If you feel that you have been a victim of harassment or illegal eviction then you should contact:
- Nottingham City Councils Housing Aid service on 0115 876 3300
- The Police
Further advice and guidance can be obtained from:
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