How can a landlord end a tenancy or evict a tenant legally?

Depending on the type of tenancy agreement that exists between a landlord and a tenant, the point at which a landlord may end a tenancy varies.

Fixed Term Assured Shorthold Tenancies

During a fixed term tenancy, a landlord cannot require a tenant to vacate the property before the end of the fixed term time period. However, the landlord can serve notice requiring possession of the property (this is known as a Section 21 notice), at any point during the tenancy provided that the date on which vacation is required expires on the last day of a tenancy period.

If the landlord wants to end the tenancy before the end of the fixed term they can only do so if:

  • one of the grounds for possession as determined in the Housing Act 1988 apply, and
  • after serving a Section 8 notice and following the correct legal process

Grounds for possession include:

  • the tenant owing at least two months' rent if rent is paid on a monthly basis, or eight weeks' rent if it is paid on a weekly basis
  • the tenant was behind with their rent, both when the landlord serves a notice seeking possession and when the landlord began court proceedings
  • the condition of the furniture in the property has got worse because it has been ill treated by the tenant or any other person living there

More details on private renting and your rights and responsibilities.

Dealing with rent arrears

Illegal eviction advice can be found here.

Statutory periodic assured shorthold tenancies

Once a fixed-term assured shorthold tenancy period expires, the tenant of a property will automatically become a Statutory Periodic tenant if a landlord does nothing about the tenancy. In such circumstances the tenancy will continue on the same terms as the preceding fixed term tenancy and is known as a Statutory Periodic Tenancy.

During this type of tenancy a landlord can serve a Section 21 notice at any point and require the tenancy to end. However, the requirements of the Section 21 legal procedure must be complied with. Alternatively the landlord can use the Section 8 notice procedure if necessary.