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How Much Notice Does A Landlord Have To Give A Tenant To Move Out In The UK?

Property Saviour » Landlord » How Much Notice Does A Landlord Have To Give A Tenant To Move Out In The UK?

If you’re a landlord looking to sell a rental property, including a house with tenants, we can buy it with our cash funds. This means there is no property chain, enabling you to sell your house quickly and complete the sale on the day your tenants depart.

All tenants in the UK must be given a form of notice if the tenancy is to be ended. How long this notice should be depends on the type of tenancy and the reason for the termination. Here, we will look at some of the most common situations.

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What kind of tenant do you have?

If you own a buy-to-let property that you don’t live in and have tenants, they likely signed an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST).

If the tenancy has a fixed term, you can’t ask them to leave unless they breached the agreement in some way. Fixed terms usually last for one year with a six-month break clause, which either party can activate by giving the required notice.

Assured Shorthold Tenancies can also be periodic, which means they are weekly or monthly rolling contracts.

If the fixed-term contract ends and your tenants don’t sign a new agreement, they will move on to a periodic contract. In both cases, you must give them two months’ written notice before they can leave.

If you live with a lodger, they are classified as an Excluded Occupier. If they have a fixed-term contract, they don’t have to leave until it ends.

If the agreement is periodic, the notice period you need to provide is the same length as the rental period. For example, if they pay weekly, you must give them one week’s notice; if they pay monthly, one month’s notice is required.

Using a section 21 notice

Most landlords and tenants end tenancies amicably by simply sending an end-of-tenancy letter, giving the agreed notice period.

However, if the tenant hasn’t broken any clauses in the tenancy agreement, the legally recognised way to start the eviction process is by issuing a Section 21 eviction notice, also known as a no-fault eviction.

Before issuing a Section 21 notice, a landlord must ensure several things are in order, including giving two months’ notice, filling in form 6A, and having the tenant deposit in a deposit protection scheme within 30 days of signing the AST.

The landlord must also pay the deposit back in full if the previous point hasn’t been met, and provide the tenant with a current gas safety certificate, energy performance certificate, and the government’s how-to rent guide.

The notice is invalid if the landlord has been given an improvement notice or emergency works notice for the property by the council, or if they own a house of multiple occupations but do not have a license for it.

After the notice period has finished, tenants do not have to leave, but the landlord will be able to continue the eviction process through the court system.

What is a section 8 notice
If the tenancy has a fixed term, you can't ask them to leave unless they breached the agreement in some way

Using a section 8 notice

A landlord can issue a Section 8 eviction notice at any point during a tenancy if the tenant fails to pay rent or violates any other terms of the agreement. It can also be used if you have other legal obligations to meet, such as if your buy-to-let home is being repossessed.

It is important to make use of the correct form and provide all the necessary details, including the tenant’s name, address, the reason for asking them to leave, and the notice period. This period varies from two weeks to two months, depending on the grounds for eviction.

There are 17 grounds which landlords can refer to. The most common of these is number eight, which covers a tenant being in arrears for at least two months. In such a case, landlords only need to give two weeks’ notice.

However, if the home is being repossessed for a legal reason which is not the tenant’s fault, they will usually be granted two months’ notice.

Moving the eviction process on

In either situation, once the notice period has ended, the tenant does not have to leave the property. A successful serving of a Section 21 or Section 8 notice allows the process to progress further.

If you have served a section 21 notice, you can apply to the court for an accelerated possession order, which is a faster process than the standard possession order.

The judge will either order the tenant to leave or schedule a court hearing if they believe the tenant has a valid reason to stay.

When it comes to section 8 notices, only standard possession orders can be used. If there are any errors in the possession order, or the tenant offers to pay their rent arrears, the judge may make a suspended possession order, allowing them to remain.

If the judge orders the tenant to leave and they still don’t, you can apply for a warrant of possession. If this is granted, bailiffs will carry out the eviction. However, this part of the process can take several months.

Across the UK

Notice periods vary across the UK. In England and Wales, they are roughly the same. However, in Scotland, if a tenancy began after December 1st 2017, it is known as a private residential tenancy and has different notice periods.

If a tenant has been in the property for less than six months or has broken the tenancy agreement, you must give them 28 days’ notice.

In all other cases, when the tenant is not at fault, the notice period is 84 days and they cannot be asked to leave before their fixed term has ended.

In Northern Ireland, the notice period is dependent on how long the tenant has been in the property. For tenancies of five years or less, four weeks’ notice must be given.

For tenancies of between five and ten years, eight weeks’ notice is required. For those longer than ten years, 12 weeks’ notice must be provided.

Can landlords use break clauses to end a tenancy
If a tenant has been in the property for less than six months or has broken the tenancy agreement, you must give them 28 days' notice.

Can landlords use break clauses to end a tenancy?

Tenancy agreements usually contain a break clause, which gives landlords the option to provide tenants with notice after a specific period has gone by.

However, it is highly unusual for a break clause to allow landlords to regain possession of their property within the first 6 months of a tenancy.

Are there faster ways to evict a tenant? 

If you want to speed up the eviction process, you can apply to the court for an Accelerated Possession Order. However, this option is not available in all situations.

For example, if you have issued a Section 21 notice and there are no rent arrears, you can use form N5B. This accelerated procedure allows you to avoid going to court, but you will still have to pay the court fee.

What do you do if your tenant refuses to leave the property once you serve notice?

If your tenant’s notice period has expired and they haven’t left the property, you’ll need to take them to court to evict them.

It’s not an option to do this yourself – contrary to popular belief, you can’t just change the locks or take away their belongings. This kind of action is illegal, and it’s likely to lead to legal consequences.

At this point, you should get in touch with a lawyer who has specific expertise in property and landlord/tenant law. They’ll be able to help you go through the process and make sure you get the result you’re looking for without breaking the law.

Selling your buy-to-let home quickly
We are cash house buyers and this is what we specialise in. We purchase any house, including rental properties.

Selling your buy-to-let home quickly

You might need to sell a rental property quickly for many reasons. You may have inherited it, or it’s owned jointly with a divorcing partner. Maybe you need to free up some cash or reduce your expenses immediately.

We are cash house buyers and this is what we specialise in. We purchase any house, including rental properties. This means we can work around your needs and take the property off your hands as soon as your tenants have vacated.

This way, you won’t have to worry about making mortgage payments while there is no rent coming in. If you think we can help, please contact us.

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