Help! My Landlord Has Evicted Me
Whether or not you have been a blameless tenant, an eviction notice from your landlord is a frightening occurrence, after all the prospect of being made homeless is not a pleasant one. If you have been informed by your landlord that your tenancy is to come to an abrupt end, this question and answer guide will assist you in deciding your next steps.
Can my landlord serve me with an eviction notice, ‘out of the blue’?
No. Under UK law, landlords have to follow a set procedure before they can remove you from their property.
What is the procedure for a periodic Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)?
If you have a periodic tenancy, (ie it runs week to week or month to month with no contracted end date), your landlord must issue you with a Notice to Quit at least two months before they wish you to leave the property.
The date the ‘Notice to Quit’ tells you to leave must be at least six months after you first moved in.
In these circumstances the landlord does not have to provide a reason for wanting you to leave the property.
If your tenancy began after 30th September 2015, your landlord must provide a ‘Notice seeking possession of a property let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (Form 6a)’ and have given you a copy of ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’ before they can evict you.
What is a Section 21 Notice?
A Section 21 notice is the most common procedure used by a landlord to evict tenants who have an assured shorthold tenancy agreement.
What is the procedure for a Fixed Term Tenancy?
Fixed term tenancies offer tenants more protection as a landlord can only evict you before the fixed term comes to an end for certain reasons such as:
- you have not paid your rent
- you have been engaging in ‘anti-social’ behaviour
- your tenancy agreement has a ‘break clause’ in it
Your landlord does not have to provide a reason if they wish to repossess the property at the end of the fixed term.
What if I refuse to leave after receiving a Section 21 notice?
If you have not left the property on or before the date set out in the Section 21 notice, your landlord must apply to the court to gain a possession order. This can take between four to six months to be actioned.
Can I dispute a Section 21 notice?
If you believe the Section 21 notice was issued without cause, (ie you are up to date with rent payments or certain repairs were not done despite notifying the landlord several times) then you can challenge the notice.
To do this you must fill in a defence form issued by the court and attend a hearing where a judge will decide if the Section 21 notice is valid.
You must send in the defence form within 14 days of receiving a Section 21 notice or an accelerated possession procedure will kick in, allowing the court to order a possession notice without a hearing taking place.
Can my landlord throw me out or change the locks?
No. Any action like this would be an illegal eviction and a criminal offence. If you are facing an illegal eviction, then contact your local council and/or the police.
There are bailiffs at my door – do I have to leave my home?
If your landlord has followed correct procedure and has a possession order issued by the court, they can summon bailiffs to remove you from the property if you refuse to leave.
The law provides strong protection to tenants from illegal or wrongly executed eviction. If you have received an eviction notice, contact a lawyer who can assist you with the best steps to take to resolve your particular situation.