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Tenant eviction

Evict tenants legally by making the right notices


Tenant eviction FAQs

  • How to evict tenants

    Eviction is a necessary part of being a landlord. Most of the time repossessing property is fairly straightforward and should happen when a tenancy comes to an end (eg using a Section 21 (Form 6A) notice) if the property is located in England).

    In England, a Section 8 notice can be used to evict a tenant during the rental period if there are certain grounds to do so.

    In Wales, the eviction process depends on the type of occupation contract in question and why the landlord wishes to evict the contract holder (ie tenant). For the avoidance of doubt, references to ‘tenants’ also apply to ‘contract holders’ unless otherwise specified.

    In Scotland, tenants can generally only be evicted if the landlord can rely on one or more of the 18 grounds for eviction.

  • Tenancy agreement for a house, flat or room

    In England, most residential properties are let as assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs). An AST allows a landlord to let the property but also allows them to get the property back (repossession). In order to get repossession of the property, you must follow the correct procedure or you could be guilty of evicting your tenant illegally.

    Since 1 December 2022, most residential lets in Wales are occupation contracts. These give the contract holder the exclusive right to rent and occupy a property (eg a house, flat or room in a property shared with multiple other contract holders). For more information on the eviction process, read Repossessing property in Wales.

    In Scotland, all tenancies that started on or after 1 December 2017 are private residential tenancies (PRSs). These give the tenant the exclusive right to use and occupy a house or flat. They are open-ended tenancies that will last until the tenant wishes to leave the property or until the landlord relies on one or more of the 18 grounds for eviction. Ask a lawyer for more information on evictions in Scotland.

    Read Residential tenanciesResidential tenancies in Wales and Residential tenancies in Scotland for more information.

  • Unpaid rent in ASTs

    Chase unpaid rent immediately. If the rent is seven days late, send the tenant a Rent demand letter. After a further 14 days if the rent is still not paid send the tenant a Final rent demand letter confirming your intention to take legal action and repossess the property if the rent is not paid.

    If rent is paid monthly and a tenant is two months in rent arrears you have the right to take action to repossess your property by serving a Section 8 notice. Two months' rent arrears is one of the section 8 grounds for repossession, but there are others you could rely on. For more information, read Repossessing property - section 8 notices.

  • Repossessing property let on an AST

    There are two main ways of repossessing property let under an AST under the Housing Act 1988:

    • a section 21 notice

    • a section 8 notice

    As repossessing property and tenant eviction may differ depending on your personal circumstances, read Tenant eviction FAQs for more information.

  • Section 21 notices for ASTs

    Serving an eviction notice is the first step to take to repossess the property. Tenancy agreements normally have a start date and an end date. This is known as a fixed-term tenancy. Once the end date has passed, the fixed term has 'expired'. Once the AST fixed term has expired an eviction notice gives you an automatic right of possession without having to show any reasons for wanting the property back.

    A Section 21 notice is suitable if you just want the property back but are not looking to take action for rent arrears or money to repair any damage to the property. To use a section 21 notice the deposit must be protected in a Government deposit scheme (if you took a deposit), the notice must be served on the tenant by the landlord (eg by first class post) and you must give the appropriate amount of notice (at least two months). For more information on deposit schemes, read Deposit protection schemes.

    You cannot serve a section 21 notice to have an expiry date that is the same as the end date of the fixed-term tenancy. For example, if the fixed-term tenancy ends on 4 July, the expiry date on the section 21 notice cannot also be 4 July.

    You can only serve the eviction notice once four months have elapsed and must normally provide at least two months' notice to the tenant. For more information, read Repossessing property - section 21 notices.

  • Section 8 notice for ASTs

    A Section 8 notice can be served during the fixed term where reasons (known as grounds) for possession exist (eg the tenant regularly pays the rent late). A section 8 notice is served when the tenant has breached the tenancy by not paying the rent or by not repairing the property.

    In England, the amount of notice landlords need to give depends on the grounds for eviction relied on in the notice. For more information, read Repossessing property - section 8 notices.

  • Obtaining possession of ASTs during the fixed-term

    A Section 8 notice can be served during the fixed term or after the fixed term has ended where grounds for possession exist. There are 17 grounds in total. Rocket Lawyer's section 8 notice deals with the most common grounds: Ground 8, Ground 10 and Ground 11. These grounds are to do with late payment of rent and rent arrears. If you need a section 8 for any other reason Ask a lawyer. Two weeks' notice is required for grounds 8, 10 and 11.

    The length of time that rent is outstanding is important as it decides the relevant date that goes into the notice. If rent is paid monthly at least two months' rent must be unpaid and if paid weekly eight weeks' rent unpaid. The 14 days notice will run from the relevant date.

    Ground 8 is a 'mandatory' ground meaning that the court must grant an order for possession. 10 and 11 are 'discretionary' meaning that the court may grant possession if it considers it reasonable to do so. For more information, read Repossessing property - section 8 notices.

    If the tenant will not leave after the notice has expired, the landlord must apply for a possession order. The landlord's chances for possession will depend on the ground(s) being used and the quality of the evidence produced.

  • Serving a section 8 and section 21 notice

    The right to serve a Section 8 notice is an additional right to the right to serve a section 21 notice. You can serve a Section 21 notice after the fixed term has ended. Most landlords will use the section 21 notice as it is the quickest procedure to get the property back. However, a section 21 will not recover any arrears of rent.

    If getting the property back is the most important thing, serving a section 21 notice is likely to be the best route, as you don't need to show any ground for possession, just that you have followed the correct procedure and have complied with your duties in connection with any deposit taken from the tenant and any prescribed information. Ask a lawyer if you are unsure.

    For more information, read Repossessing property - section 21 notices.

  • Break clauses

    If the Tenancy agreement (including occupation contracts) contains a right for the landlord to end the tenancy early (a break clause) then make sure that you give notice to the tenant as required in the contract using a break notice. For more information, read Ending your tenancy early and Repossessing property in Wales. Ask a lawyer if you are unsure.

  • Lodger agreements

    In England, a Lodger agreement is not an AST and the process for getting your room back and evicting your lodger is much simpler.

    In Wales, a lodger agreement is only an occupation contract if the landlord notifies the contract holder of this before or when the agreement begins. Where this is not the case, the Lodger agreement is not an occupation contract and the lodger is, therefore, subject to fewer protections.

    Similarly, in Scotland, those renting under a Lodger agreement for Scotland have fewer protections than other tenants and the process of evicting them is simpler. 

    For more information, read Taking in a lodger

  • Repossessing a room let to a lodger

    In England, you only need to give the lodger reasonable notice, which is often the length of the rental payment period. This means that, if the lodger pays weekly, you must give one week's notice; if they pay monthly you must give a month's notice and so on. For more information, read How to evict a lodger.

    In Wales, the process for evicting a lodger depends on whether or not the lodger has an occupation contract. Anyone renting under an occupation contract is considered a contract holder and has more rights (including greater protection from eviction). For more information on evicting a lodger under an occupation contract, read Repossessing property in Wales. Lodgers who don’t have an occupation contract can be evicted in the same way as in England.

    In Scotland, the notice period required depends on the duration of the lodger agreement, when during the lodging the lodger is being evicted and why the lodger is being evicted. For more information, read Evicting lodgers in Scotland.

  • Ending a tenancy

    If both the tenant and landlord mutually agree to end the tenancy early, then the tenancy can be surrendered. Surrendering a tenancy is used where there is no break clause in the tenancy agreement, but both parties agree to end the agreement early. For more information, read Surrendering a tenancy.

    Tenant abandonment is another way of the tenancy coming to an end. This is when the tenant leaves the property before the tenancy has ended without letting the landlord know. The landlord must make sure that the tenant has surrendered the tenancy by abandonment before letting the property to someone else. The best way to do this is by contacting the tenant to ensure they are abandoning the property and ending the tenancy. For more information, read Tenant abandonment.

  • Evictions in Wales

    In Wales, the eviction process depends on the type of contract the contract holder has (eg a fixed-term occupation contract, a periodic occupation contract or a secure contract) and why the landlord wants to evict them. Generally speaking, if there is a ground for eviction (eg serious rent arrears) less notice needs to be given, while no-fault evictions (ie those where there is no specific reason for the contract holder being evicted) require at least 6 months’ notice. 

    You can use Rocket Lawyer’s Eviction notice to end a contract holder’s contract. 

    For more information, read Repossessing property in Wales and Eviction in Wales FAQs.

  • Tenant eviction in Scotland

    In Scotland, the type of procedure to evict a tenant will depend on the type of tenant. For a private residential tenancy (every tenancy started on or after 1 December 2017)  you can only evict tenants by using one of the 18 grounds for eviction. You must give the tenant a written notice called a notice to leave. If you have an assured or short assured tenant you must serve the tenant a notice to quit and a notice of proceedings, and send a section 11 notice to the local council. For more information, read Tenant eviction in Scotland FAQs and Ask a lawyer for more information.

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Legal guides

  1. End of tenancy checklist for landlords
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  2. Repossessing property - section 21 notices
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  3. Repossessing property - section 8 notices
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  4. Repossessing property in Wales
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  5. Evictions in Wales FAQs
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  6. How to evict a lodger
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  7. Ending a fixed term tenancy
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  8. Surrendering a tenancy
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  9. Enforcement of possession orders
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  10. Ending a tenancy due to immigration status
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  11. Ending a periodic tenancy
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  12. Squatters
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  13. Tenant abandonment
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  14. Tenant’s rights checklist when being evicted using Section 21 (Form 6A)
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  15. Section 21 eviction notice checklist for landlords
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  16. Tenant eviction FAQs
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  17. Evicting lodgers in Scotland
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  18. Grounds for eviction in Scotland
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  19. Tenant eviction in Scotland FAQs
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  20. Moving out checklist for tenants
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  21. Break clause notices
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  22. Retaliatory evictions
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