Section 21 is the official notice of eviction – here we’ll provide an overview and breakdown of everything the notice covers for both landlords and tenants. As a landlord or tenant, it’s important to know the principles of a legal eviction. The eviction process begins with the Section 21 notice, which is a notice issued to tenants who are under an AST (assured shorthold tenancy). Section 21 differs slightly from Section 8: the former is used to evict tenants who have come to the end of their contract; the latter is when tenants have actually breached the terms of the contract.

 

When to Issue Section 21

 

There are two situations in which Section 21 is applicable:

  • When a fixed period tenancy contract reaches its end
  • At some point during a periodic (i.e.no fixed period) tenancy

 

In certain situations, Section 21 is not valid if:

  • The tenancy only began within the past 4 months
  • The fixed period of time outlined in the tenancy agreement hasn’t reached its end yet (barring any additional clauses that negate this)
  • The property in question is ‘a house in multiple occupation’ (known as HMO) and without an official council-issued license
  • The tenancy began post-2007 and the landlord has failed to keep the deposits in a protection scheme
  • The tenancy began post-October 2015 and no Form 6A (another name for Section 21) or equivalent letter has been issued
  • The local council has plans for the property to improve or do emergency maintenance work on it (if either or both of these is true, a notice will be issued by the council)
  • The landlord owes fees / deposits to the tenant
  • Correct guides and certificates haven’t been issued to the tenant (see full list on the Section 21 government page)

 

Notice to Give Before Section 21

 

In order for Section 21 to be valid, it must always be issued with at least 2 months notice period for the tenants. This means they have 2 months to get their affairs in order and arrange moving out.

 

If you’re dealing with a periodic / non-fixed tenancy, tenants are permitted to stay in the property for the remainder of the time covered by their most recent rental payment.

 

What Happens After Section 21?

 

Once a Section 21 notice has been issued, a landlord needs to record and keep evidence by:

  • Filling in an N215 form
  • Ensuring your name and the date of issue are written clearly on the Section 21 document

 

If there is any difficulty getting the tenants to leave the property by the allocated time, your N215 form can be used to get things moving with an accelerated order of possession.

 

What is Section 8?

 

We’ve touched on it earlier, but here’s Section 8 in a little more detail. Section 8 is similar to Section 21, except it is a notice for seeking possession of a property.

 

This applies when the terms of the tenants’ contract have been broken, and the landlord wishes to repossess the house as soon as possible. Section 8 can have a notice period of anything between 14 days and 2 months, depending on how the contract has been breached.

 

If you can’t get the tenants to leave by the date specified, there is also the option to apply through a court for an order of possession.

 

If in doubt about your legal rights as a landlord or a tenant, get in touch with a professional property solicitor for advice and guidance.