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Legal and illegal eviction


If you rent from a private landlord or some registered social providers, you might have an assured shorthold tenancy (AST). You can find more information on your tenancy agreement on GOV.UK (opens new window).

If you have an AST, your landlord has to follow a legal process to evict you. Contact the Housing Options Team to find out if you are being evicted illegally.

How can my landlord evict me?

Your landlord can serve you with either a:

  • Section 21 Notice - this lets them serve you two months' notice to leave. They do not need to state why they are evicting you.
  • Section 8 Notice - this is rarely used but allows them to evict you because of things like rent arrears or antisocial behaviour. This condition must be written into your tenancy agreement. They only have to give you two weeks' notice before they apply to the courts.

Contact our housing options team if you are served with either notice.

Is my landlord's Section 21 notice valid?

Your landlord can take back their property without giving any reason. However, they must:

  • Protect your deposit in a deposit protection scheme
  • Provide you with a copy of the Prescribed Information
  • Give you at least two months' written notice via a fully completed Form 6a
  • Make sure the leaving date they set is at least six months after your original tenancy began
  • Hold all the correct licences if you are in a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO)
  • Evict you after your fixed term expires or make sure you have a periodic (month-to-month) tenancy

What happens when my notice expires?

Once the notice period expires - if you have not left the property - your landlord will need to apply to the courts for a possession order. Once this expires, the landlord will need to apply to the courts again for a bailiff's warrant. This process can take up to six weeks and you will have to pay court fees.

On the date of the bailiff's warrant you will have to leave the property.

Only a court-appointed bailiff can evict you from an AST. If your landlord tries to evict you they may be breaking the law. 

What is illegal eviction?

This is when your landlord attempts to force you out of your home without following correct procedures. They cannot (among other things):

  • Change the locks without your consent
  • Physically throw you out
  • Stop you from getting to parts of your home

Landlords must give you the correct notice if they want you to leave, even if you do not have a written agreement. If you have been asked to leave your home by your landlord you should contact the housing options team.

What is harassment?

Any action by your landlord which stops you living quietly and safely in your own home counts as harassment. This includes things like interfering with your possessions or utilities, threatening you, and visiting too often or without adequate notice.

You should contact the housing options team if you feel you are being harassed.

What should I do if I am being harassed or illegally evicted?

Contact our housing options team as soon as you can. If you feel threatened, or if your eviction occurs in the evening or over a weekend, contact the police. You could get a court order to stop your landlord harassing you and could claim compensation for any acts of harassment.

It will help your case if you keep a record of:

  • Names and addresses of anyone involved
  • Any witnesses
  • Any police officers involved and the police incident number

We may be able to provide you with advice or negotiate with your landlord if they are trying to evict you illegally. In extreme cases we can prosecute them.

How can you help me if I receive a Section 8 notice?

You can defend yourself against a Section 8 notice. Contact our Housing Options Team and they will check that:

  • The notice has been completed correctly
  • It is the correct notice for your tenancy type
  • The grounds given by your landlord are valid
  • You can repay your arrears so you are no more than two months in arrears

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