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Evicting Tenants—Do’s and Don’ts

Deciding to evict a tenant should not be taken lightly, however, there may come a time when eviction is the only possible, and final option. To begin the eviction process and seek possession of the property, you must follow strict procedures in order to have a tenant removed. To help you understand your responsibilities and what you need to do we have compiled a list of do’s and don’ts.


Evictions during Coronavirus

Across the UK, each nation has produced updated guidance on evictions during the coronavirus outbreak.

In all cases this includes an extension of the notice period for evictions.


  • The notice period has been increased to six months.
  • Government has encouraged landlords to pause eviction proceedings where possible.

Scotland and Wales

  • In most cases landlords must now give tenants six months’ notice.
  • In Scotland, a new law has made all grounds for eviction discretionary – allowing any tribunals to consider the impact of coronavirus before issuing an eviction order or not.

Northern Ireland

  • Your landlord must now give you 12 weeks advance notice in writing before the date you have to leave.
  • Your landlord or letting agent cannot force you to leave your rented home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Updated 4 September 2020


Talk to your tenant

It is always preferable to resolve disputes without the need for court action. See if you can reach an agreement with your tenant in the first instance or help them come up with a plan for repaying any rent arrears. 

Make sure you keep a log of any correspondence and that any agreement reached is recorded in writing.

Check which eviction process to take

When considering the process of eviction, there are two possibilities for terminating a tenancy in England and Wales:

  • Section 8 Notice – where the tenant has broken the terms of the tenancy
  • Section 21 Notice – if you want your property back after the fixed term has ended

To give your tenants notice using a Section 8, you must fill in a ‘Notice seeking possession of a property let on an assured tenancy or an assured agricultural occupancy’.

You can give between 2 weeks’ and 2 months’ notice depending on which terms of the tenancy they have broken. You can then apply to the court for a possession order if your tenant doesn’t leave by the specified date.

You can issue a Section 21 notice if your tenant has either:

  • A written agreement with a fixed term which has ended
  • An oral or written ‘periodic’ agreement with not specified fixed end date

When issuing a Section 21 notice, you must provide your tenant with at least two months’ notice in which to leave the property. You can create a notice by filling in form 6a, which applies to all tenancies, regardless of their commencement date. You must also provide your tenant with an up-to-date Gas Safety Certificate, the property’s Energy Performance Certificate, the Prescribed Information relating to the protection of their deposit, a copy of the licence and a copy of the Government's ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’ guide (either digitally or as a hard copy).

It is essential that you keep proof that you gave notice to your tenant, either by completing a certification of service form (N215 form); or by writing “served by [your name] on [the date]” on the notice.

If your tenant doesn’t leave by the specified date, you can use your completed N215 or notice to apply for an accelerated possession order.


Neglect your obligations

When trying to evict a tenant, you’ve got to make sure your end of the lease agreement has been upheld. Landlord obligations such as maintenance issues still need to be diligently addressed, failure on your part to do so could result in legal action.

Change the locks

Entering the property to change the locks without notice and prior to the tenant vacating the premises is a criminal offence which could lead to a hefty fine or even imprisonment.

Remove the tenant’s belongings from the property

Holding a tenant’s belongings hostage in lieu of unpaid rent or removing it from the property before the tenant has left is also a criminal offence, one for which you could be heavily penalised.

Failing to return tenants' possessions could result in prosecution.

Shut off the property's utilities

Switching off the utilities such as gas, water, electricity etc. is a big no-no.

As a landlord, you need to fulfil your legal obligations and shutting off a tenant’s water supply could end in criminal action.




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