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What to do if you're served with notice.

If you have a tenancy you have protection from eviction and to gain lawful possession of the property, your landlord must follow the rules laid out in legislation.

The procedure that your landlord must follow will depend on what type of tenancy you have. Always get advice if you have been given notice and do not just move out.    

Assured Shorthold Tenancies - section 21 notices.   

Your landlord does not have to have a reason to issue  a s21 notice, and if all of the paperwork relating to the tenancy has been issued correctly then there is no defence against the possession action and the court must make an order. The notice must be served on a specific form - a handwritten letter is not valid.  

You are always entitled to 2 months notice and when that notice expires your landlord must take you to court to get a possession order. 

Your landlord cannot issue a Section 21 notice if any of the following apply: 

  • it’s less than 6 months since the tenancy started
  • the fixed term of the tenancy has not ended, unless there’s a clause in the contract which allows you to do this
  • the property is categorised as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) and the landlord does not have a HMO license from the council
  • the council has served an improvement notice on the property in the last 6 months
  • the council has served a notice in the last 6 months that says it will do emergency works on the property
  • the tenancy started after April 2007 and your tenancy deposit has not been placed in a deposit protection scheme

Your landlord must have also given you the following when you moved into the tenancy (if this is after  October 2015)  

Assured and Assured Shorthold tenancies - Section 8 notices. 

A section 8 notice is issued when your landlord is claiming that you have broken the terms of the tenancy.  

The notice must be on a specific form ‘Notice seeking possession of a property let on an assured tenancy or an assured agricultural occupancy’. The notice must state clearly which terms of the tenancy the landlord believes have been broken and give details.  

The length of the notice will be between 2 weeks’ and 2 months’ notice depending on which grounds for possession have been claimed.  

Your landlord must take you to court and prove their claim in order to get a possession order. The Council may be able to help you prepare a defence against the landlords claim, and the court desk service can represent you in court.

What happens after the notice expires? 

Your landlord must make an application to the County Court for a possession order. The Court will send you a copy of the claim form and you have 14 days to challenge the application and submit a defence. There will then be a hearing.

At the hearing the judge might:

  • dismiss the court case - no order will be made and the hearing will end
  • adjourn the hearing - it will be moved to a later date (this happens if a judge believes a decision cannot be made on the day)
  • make an ‘order’ - a judge’s legal decision on what should happen.

In the case of s21 notices, if all of the paperwork is correct then the judge must make an order.

With section 8 notices, the judge will dismiss the claim  if the landlord cannot prove their case; the landlord has not followed the correct procedure; or by the time of the court hearing you have corrected the tenancy breach - for example cleared rent arrears. 


The judge can make different kinds of orders.

Order for possession (or ‘outright possession order’)

You will be given a date to leave the property which will usually be 14 or 28 days after the court hearing. If you do not leave by this date, then your landlord will apply to the bailiff for a warrant to evict you.

Suspended order for possession

If you can reach agreement with your landlord and make an offer to the court, then the judge may make a suspended order. This means you can stay in your property as long as you make rent payments, or obey the conditions set out in the order. If you breach the order your landlord can apply for a warrant to evict you.

For more information about tenancies and your rights you can visit the SHELTER or Citizens Advice websites.