What tenants need to know about being evicted

2nd May 2019

The recent announcement that the government will consult on changes to the rules surrounding tenant evictions is seen as one of the biggest overhauls for renters in a generation.

The announcement is likely to see the government scrap ‘no-fault evictions’ – meaning that landlords would no longer be able to evict tenants from their homes at short notice without good reason – and has been welcomed by housing campaigners.

But what will the proposed changes mean for landlords and tenants and how do they navigate the minefield of legalities? Simon Roberts, a solicitor at DAS Law explains what tenants need to know…

My landlord is threatening to evict me – how do I ensure he is acting within the law?

If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST – most tenancies are ASTs) the landlord cannot evict you from the property without a court order. If you have been threatened with eviction please seek immediate legal advice.

What legal processes does my landlord need to follow in order to evict me?

The first step by the landlord in lawfully evicting a tenant will be the serving of a notice to quit. The notice will either be a section 8 notice (requiring grounds) or section 21 notice (requiring no grounds).

Should the tenant not leave following the expiry of the notice the landlord will need to apply to court for a possession order. The order will generally be issued following a hearing and will set a date for the tenants to leave the property.

Should the tenant not vacate the property, the landlord will have to return to court to obtain warrant for possession of land, allowing the landlord to appoint bailiffs to evict the tenant. The landlord is not permitted to change the locks without going through the courts.

What should I do if I receive an eviction notice from my landlord?

Generally, a landlord can only bring a tenancy to an end by serving either a section 21 or a section 8 notice. A section 8 notice has to be in a prescribed form and for breaches of tenancy, such as non-payment of rent, the landlord is required to give 14 days’ notice.

There are various requirements that have to comply with when issuing a section 21 notice, including ensuring that the landlord has complied with the duty to protect the deposit within 30 days. Depending upon locality, a section 21 notice may also require the use of a prescribed form.

Failure to comply with the legal requirement could render the notices unenforceable. Should you receive a notice to quit or possession order you should seek legal advice to ensure that the notice you have been served with is the correct length and has been served on the prescribed form, and that all other legal requirements have been met by the landlord.

Can I appeal an eviction notice?

You cannot appeal a notice to quit but if the notice served was not valid the landlord is unlikely to secure possession of the property. You may be able to appeal against a possession order but only if you can show that the judge made an error of judgement in the possession hearing.

I am up to date on my rent but the landlord wishes to sell the property. Can I be evicted before the end of my lease?

Provided that there are no other issues (e.g. breach of the tenancy), the landlord will have to wait for the fixed term to expire and cannot require you to leave before that date.

I have made improvements to the property during my tenancy – can I ask for compensation of the costs if I am being evicted?

It would depend on the agreement with the landlord. In most residential tenancies (i.e. AST) the tenant is required to seek consent from the landlord to undertake any work in the property, thus it is very unlikely that the tenant will be entitled to any compensation. They may, however, be required to undertake more work to put the property back into its original condition.

I have heard that I should force the landlord to go to court to evict me as this will help me being re-housed by the local authority. Is this true?

It is not uncommon for councils to advise tenants to stay in the property until the landlord obtains a possession order or bailiffs are instructed to evict the tenants.

Simon Roberts

Senior Associate, Solicitor

Learn more
How to deal with work disputes and problems

A variety of problems can arise in the workplace, and it's sometimes hard to know how to respond to these situations. Being aware of your rights under employment law can be a huge help.

April 2018 Learn more
The Property Boundaries Bill: Drawing a line under it

The Property Boundaries (Resolution of Disputes) Bill is currently awaiting its second reading in the House of Lords. So is this the end of the court’s involvement in boundary disputes?

November 2017 Learn more

Read more from the DAS Law blog

Property disputes Airbnb and holiday lettings: What to do with the staycation boom

Thomas Pertaia, a solicitor at DAS Law, answers the most important questions for existing Airbnb hosts and those thinking of renting out their properties.

April 2022
General advice , Property disputes How far you can legally go to stop people from playing a ‘trick’ on you this Halloween

Halloween is generally a ‘spooktacular’ time for all but a few bad apples can spoil the fun. So what can you do if someone chooses to play a trick and damages your property?

October 2021
Property disputes Struggling to pay your rent? Here’s what you need to know

The eviction ban in England and Wales has now been extended further; landlords are not able to legally enforce an eviction order until after these bans have ended.

July 2021
General advice , Property disputes Everybody needs good neighbours. But what can be done if someone refuses to be neighbourly?

What happens when a neighbour’s plant is growing across onto your property? And what can be done if a neighbour’s tree is blocking the light into your garden?

May 2021
Property disputes Landlords – what you need to know about increasing your tenant's deposit

It’s hardly surprising that landlords are considering increasing deposits to reduce their Covid-19 risk. Nevertheless, the Tenant Fee Act limits what you can do with deposits so, as a landlord, what are your options?

February 2021
Property disputes Rent guarantors – what landlords need to know

With landlords increasingly worried about securing their rent income during Covid-19 is requesting a guarantor the answer? Saiful Ahmed, Legal Adviser at DAS Law, tells you what you need to know.

February 2021
Property disputes Online tenancy agreements for landlords

The key to managing the different issues that arise in the landlord and tenant relationship is having a clear and thorough tenancy agreement. Lauren Woolf, Legal Adviser at DAS Law, tells you what you need to know.

January 2021
Property disputes What action you can take if someone parks outside your home

Simon Roberts looks at what you need to know if people are blocking your driveway for weeks on end.

December 2020
Property disputes How to keep your private firework display legal

Lauren Woolf sheds light on the laws surrounding Bonfire Night and private firework displays.

October 2021
Property disputes 6 things landlords need to know about anti-social behaviour

The government has issued updates to the recent rule changes for repossession in cases of anti-social behaviour / nuisance. Molly-Ellen Turecek tells you what you need to know.

October 2020
Property disputes What landlords need to know about the government’s ‘pre-action protocol’

The courts are due to open again on 23 August. When they do, there will be a new ‘pre-action protocol’ for landlords to comply with.

July 2020
Property disputes Property boundaries – how disputes can tip neighbours over the edge

When it comes property boundaries and pruning hedges, neighbourly niggles can occur.

May 2020
General advice , Property disputes Ho-ho-home invasion: is Father Christmas trespassing?

When he enters your home, is Father Christmas actually trespassing? If he does so without your expressed permission, could he be prosecuted?

December 2019