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Serving notice

How do I serve notice?

Most private tenants can only be evicted if you – as the landlord - follow the correct legal procedure. This process usually starts when you give notice to your tenant to leave the property. Most tenants are entitled to a written notice. The main exception to this is if you live with your tenant and share facilities such as the bathroom or kitchen, in which case you only have to give verbal notice. When you can give notice depends on the reason you are evicting a tenant and the type of tenancy your tenant has. If they have a fixed-term tenancy for a set period, such as six months you can give notice any time but it cannot take effect until the end of that fixed period unless you can prove a legal reason to evict – usually where a tenant has broken one of the rules in their tenancy agreement. If this is the case, you must follow strict procedures for serving notice.

How much notice do I have to give?

If they have a periodic tenancy that runs from week to week, or month to month, you can give notice any time without needing a reason. This type of notice is usually referred to as a section 21 notice and requires you to give at least 2 month’s notice in writing to your tenant. You can only use Section 21 if you protected any tenancy deposit in accordance with the tenancy deposit schemes.

 If you fail to serve the correct type of notice you could be guilty of illegal eviction and a court could refuse to grant you with a Possession Order.

My tenant won’t leave

If your tenant has not left the property by the time their notice expires you can apply to the courts for a possession order, which gives you the right to evict them and take possession of the property. You cannot legally force your tenant out of the property without going to court first and any attempt to do so could be classed as harassment.

For more information on gaining possession of your property the GOV.UK website has useful information for landlords.

This page was last updated: 9 August 2017

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