A landlord can only evict a tenant after serving a correct written notice (except in the case of certain lodgers in the landlord's home).
If the tenancy is for a fixed term there must be a legal ground (such as rent arrears) to evict, and notice given under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. For a rolling or periodic tenancy there does not have to be a legal ground and a Section 21 notice may be used. If the tenant does not move out on expiry of the notice the landlord can apply to the County Court for a possession order. A physical eviction may only be carried out by a court-appointed bailiff. Any eviction that does not follow this process is unlawful. Contact Environmental Health if your landlord is threatening to evict you illegally. If anyone other than a court-appointed bailiff tries to evict you physically, call the police.
A Section 21 notice:
- Must give at least two months' notice
- Can only be used if any deposit received from the tenant has been paid into a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme
- Can only be used if there are valid gas safety and Energy Performance certificates for the property, and the tenant has been given a copy of the government leaflet "How to Rent".
- Cannot be used for six months after the local authority has served an improvement notice or a notice of emergency remedial action on the property.
- Is not valid if you live in a house in multiple occupation (HMO) that should be licensed by the council but isn't.
If you think your notice is not valid, or you are at risk of becoming homeless, you should contact the Housing Options team.
Citizens Advice may be able to help you challenge an eviction or ask for more time at the court hearing.
If you have already been evicted illegally you can ask the court for an injunction to let you back into your home or to stop harassing you. The council can consider legal action if there is evidence that you have been evicted without a court order.
Shelter offer legal advice to tenants and have useful information on their website.