Is Your Landlord Evicting You From Your Rented Property?
It’s distressing to be evicted unexpectedly from your home – especially if you were a model tenant.
Your landlord can gain possession of their property if it were rented on an assured shorthold tenancy agreement. However, this is a legal process with specific requirements. If these requirements are not met, you could stay in your home for longer.
What Is A Section 21 Notice?
A Section 21 notice starts the legal process to end an assured shorthold tenancy.
Your landlord can issue you with a Section 21 notice during:
- a rolling periodic tenancy
- a fixed-term contract if there's a break clause.
- towards the end of a fixed term agreement
The Section 21 notice will give a date for you to leave your home. But if you stay, the tenancy will continue. If your landlord still wants you to leave, they must apply to court.
It is illegal for your landlord to try to evict you without a court order.
If your landlord hasn’t applied to court and is still insisting that you must leave your home, you may be able to challenge the eviction. This may mean you can stay in your home for longer.
It’s important to seek legal help as soon as you can. Contact us so we can help you to understand your options.
When Can A Section 21 Notice Be Issued?
If your landlord wants their property back, they don’t need to give a reason. It doesn’t mean you’ve broken any rules.
You can be given a Section 21 notice only if you have an assured shorthold tenancy.
You’re likely to have an assured shorthold tenancy if:
- your original tenancy started on or after 28 February 1997
- you don't live with your landlord.
You won't have an assured shorthold tenancy if your rent is:
- more than £100,000 a year
- less than £1,000 a year in London or £250 a year outside London.
If you don’t have an assured shorthold tenancy, the notice won’t be valid. Contact us so our experts can help you to challenge the eviction.
Remember, you don’t need to sign a Section 21 notice to prove you received it, even if your landlord asks you to do so.
Is My Section 21 Notice Valid?
Even if you have an assured shorthold tenancy, it doesn’t automatically mean that the Section 21 notice is valid.
The notice may be invalid for a number of reasons such as:
- you weren’t given enough notice
- your deposit hasn’t been protected correctly
- you didn't get information about your deposit
- the notice has expired
- your landlord didn't give you the right documents
- you are being evicted because you've complained
- your landlord asked you for a deposit of more than five weeks' rent.
The above are a few examples of reasons why a mistake with required paperwork relating to a Section 21 notice, could allow you more time in your home.
Our experts can review the document and confirm if it’s valid or not. Whether it is not valid or not, we can help you to make informed decisions and provide support during what is most likely to be a difficult time. In some instances, if the landlord has not acted correctly we may also be able to recover damages/compensation arising from a landlords failure to comply with regulations.
Contractual And Statutory Periodic Tenancies
If you have a contractual periodic tenancy – a rolling (ie, month-to-month) agreement – then a Section 21(4) notice will apply only if:
- the tenancy started as a contractual periodic tenancy
- the tenancy agreement states that the tenancy will continue as a periodic tenancy after the end of the fixed term
- you and the landlord enter into a new agreement for a contractual periodic tenancy after the fixed term has ended.
It is important to note that:
- there is no requirement for the contractual periodic tenancy agreement to be in writing
- after a Court of Appeal decision in 2013, the landlord doesn’t need to use a section 21(4) notice where the tenancy is a statutory periodic tenancy after a fixed term – no matter how long ago that fixed term ended.
Statutory periodic tenancies were created under Section 5 of the Housing Act 1988. They exist because many tenancy agreements do not contain any clause specifying how a tenancy will continue after the fixed term ends.
How do you know if you have a contractual or statutory periodic tenancy? Check your tenancy agreement – look for a clause referring to a contractual periodic tenancy.
If no clause exists – or the clause states that the tenancy will be a statutory periodic tenancy or will arise under Section 5 of the Housing Act 1988 – then it will be a statutory periodic tenancy.
What Should I Do If My Section 21 Notice Isn’t Valid?
If your Section 21 isn’t valid, we can help you to challenge your eviction. This is known as defending possession.
While the eviction is being challenged, you’ll be able to stay in your home. If the landlord still wants you to leave, they’ll need to issue you with a new, valid notice.
Speak to us before you challenge your eviction. We will help you to ascertain whether or not you have a case.
My Section 21 Notice Is Valid. What Now?
Your landlord can’t remove you from your home until they’ve gone to court for a possession order and a warrant for eviction. Once this warrant is obtained, they can use bailiffs to evict you.
Your landlord can go to court only after the date the Section 21 notice says you have to leave. If they try to make you leave before they get a court order, the eviction is illegal.
When your landlord goes to court, you may be able to ask the court if you can stay in your home for longer, however the court has limited powers to agree this. You’ll need papers from the court before you can make this request.
What If I Don’t Leave My Home By The Date On My Section 21 Notice?
If you don’t leave your home by the date stipulated in your notice, your landlord may start a possession claim. This is because they are taking legal action to make you leave. The court will then decide if you need to move out.
As part of the possession claim, you will receive papers from the court. This is called a defence form. It will allow you to tell the court why you think you should stay – for example, because the Section 21 notice is invalid.
We can help you to complete the defence form which may increase the likelihood of it being accepted by the court, or may be persuade the landlord from discontinuing the claim.
What Should I Do If I Receive A Section 8 Notice?
Unlike a Section 21 notice, a Section 8 notice will be served if your landlord believes they have a legal reason to end your tenancy.
It will be valid only if you have an assured shorthold tenancy, the tenancy agreement need not be in writing.
You can be issued a Section 8 notice at any time during your tenancy – but your landlord needs to provide a reason.
Common reasons to issue a Section 8 notice include, amongst others:
- rent arrears
- damage to your landlord’s property
- complaints from neighbours.
Your landlord can issue both a Section 21 notice and a Section 8 notice at the same time. They don’t need to provide a reason for giving you a Section 21 notice.
Is My Section 8 Notice Valid?
Your landlord can evict you only if the Section 8 notice is valid.
To be valid, the notice must include:
- your name
- the address of the property
- the grounds for possession (reasons why your landlord wants you to leave the property)
- the date your notice ends (if you don’t leave by this date, your landlord will need to get a possession order from the court to evict you).
The grounds for possession are numbered 1-17. The ground number and explanation should be on your Section 8 notice. If they're not, the Section 8 notice may not be valid.
What Do I Do If My Section 8 Notice Is Invalid Or If I Disagree With The Grounds For Possession?
If you have a reason to challenge your eviction, speak to our experts right away. This is called defending possession. If your Section 8 notice is found to be invalid, you could stay in your home.
Being Evicted By Your Landlord? Get Expert Legal Advice
Our debt recovery solicitors have years of experience in this specialist field. We handle enquiries from all over the country.
Get expert help. Email us now using the form below…