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Your questions answered.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can evict tenants who have an assured shorthold tenancy using a Section 21 or Section 8 notice, or both. Use a Section 8 notice if your tenants have broken the terms of the tenancy.

You can use a Section 21 notice to evict your tenants either:

  • To end the fixed term tenancy ends - if there’s a written contract
  • During a tenancy with no fixed end date - known as a ‘periodic’ tenancy

Speak to us if you do not know which notice to give and we will give you a free case overview.

You cannot use a Section 21 notice if any of the following apply:

  • it’s less than 4 months since the tenancy started
  • the fixed term has not ended, unless there’s a clause in the contract which allows you to do this
  • the property is categorised as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) and does not have a HMO licence from the council
  • the council has served an improvement notice on the property in the last 6 months
  • the council has served a notice in the last 6 months that says it will do emergency works on the property
  • you do not have a landlord licence - if you live in Wales

You also cannot use a Section 21 notice if you haven't given the tenants copies of:

A Section 21 notice must always give your tenants at least 2 months’ notice to leave your property.

Keep proof that you gave notice to your tenants

To give your tenants notice using a Section 8, you must fill in a ‘Notice seeking possession of a property let on an assured tenancy or an assured agricultural occupancy’. Specify on the notice which terms of the tenancy they’ve broken.

You can give between 2 weeks’ and 2 months’ notice depending on which terms they’ve broken.

You can apply to the court for a possession order if your tenants do not leave by the specified date.

You can apply for an accelerated possession order if your tenants have not left by the date specified in your Section 21 notice and you’re not claiming rent arrears.

This is sometimes quicker than applying for a standard possession order and there’s usually no court hearing.

Fixed-term tenants cannot be evicted until their tenancy ends.

If you want to claim rent arrears you can use either the:

The court will send your tenants a copy of the application.

Your tenants have 14 days to challenge the application, from the date they receive it.

A judge will decide either to:

  • issue a possession order that states your tenants must leave the property (this is normally the case)
  • have a court hearing (this usually only happens if the paperwork is not in order or your tenants raise an important issue)

Even if there’s a hearing, the court can still decide to issue a possession order.

If your tenants are in an exceptionally difficult situation the judge may give them up to 6 weeks.

The judge could decide to make an order, or that a hearing is needed.

At the hearing they might:

  • dismiss the court case - no order will be made and the hearing will end
  • adjourn the hearing - it will be moved to a later date (this happens if a judge believes a decision cannot be made on the day)
  • make an ‘order’ - a judge’s legal decision on what should happen

The judge will dismiss the case if there’s no reason your tenants should be evicted. This might also happen if:

  • you have not followed the correct procedure
  • you or your representative do not attend the hearing
  • your tenants have paid any rent that was owed

Your tenants can stay in your property if the judge dismisses the case. You must restart the court process from the beginning if you still want to evict them.

This means your tenants must leave your property before the date given in the order.

The date will be either 14 or 28 days after the court hearing.

You can ask the court to evict them with a ‘warrant for possession’ if your tenants do not leave your property by the date given. If the court gives a warrant, your tenants will be sent an eviction notice with a date by when they must leave your property.

This means your tenants can stay in your property as long as they make the payments, or obey the conditions, set out in the order. You can ask the court to evict them if they do not make the payments.

This means your tenants must pay you a specified amount. The courts could take action if they do not make the payments, including:

  • deducting money from the tenants’ wages or bank accounts
  • sending bailiffs to take away things they own

A judge can add a money judgment to any of the possession orders. (except Accelerated possession orders) This means your tenants owe a specific amount of money, usually made up of:

  • their rent arrears
  • court fees
  • legal costs

The money judgment will apply if they do not pay the amount set out in the suspended possession order that’s linked to the judgment. If they do not pay, you can ask the court to carry out the instructions in the order and the judgment.

The money judgment will not apply if your tenants pay their arrears and the amount set out in a suspended possession order.

You can only appeal if you can show the judge made mistakes in the original possession hearing. You’ll need to ask the judge for permission to appeal at the end of that hearing.

If you get permission to appeal, you’ll have to apply for an appeal hearing as soon as possible afterwards. You’ll have to pay a court fee, unless you qualify for financial help.

You can ask the court for a ‘warrant for possession’ if your tenants do not leave your property by the date given in an order for possession.

When the court issues a warrant, your tenants will be sent an eviction notice giving a date by when they must leave your property.

If your tenants do not leave your property you’ll need to ask for a warrant of possession to arrange for a bailiff to evict them.

You can speed up the eviction by applying to have the warrant transferred from the county court to the High Court.

A high court enforcement officer will carry out the eviction.

You can only do this if you’re claiming more than £600 including court costs.

Your tenants can ask a judge to ‘suspend’ the warrant for possession at a new hearing. The judge could delay the eviction or let your tenants stay in your property if they can make payments again.

We strongly advise that a comprehensive inventory is part of any tenancy agreement. It is there to protect the letting agent, landlord, and tenant in case of dispute.