Before I dive into this topic, cock first, I think it’s important that I clarify the difference between being “evicted” and “being told to vacate at the end of a tenancy” because a lot of tenants (and even landlords) blatantly don’t know the difference. Granted, it can initially be a little tricky to understand.
Tenants being Evicted
A landlord can start the process of “eviction” at any point during a tenancy if they have the grounds to do so e.g. if the tenant falls 2 months into arrears.
Depending on which grounds are being used, the notice will state a date of which the tenant should vacate the premises by.
A landlord has a dozen or so grounds for eviction, and assuming the grounds are valid, the landlord is with in his rights to evict the tenant.
So, if you’re a tenant being evicted, carefully read through the grounds to determine whether your landlord has a valid case. If he/she does, then the answer is obviously yes, your landlord can evict you!
Being told to vacate at the end of a tenancy
A landlord is fully entitled to serve a possession notice, known as a Section 21 form, to gain possession of their property at the end of a tenancy. This is NOT an “eviction” notice per’se (i.e. it doesn’t mean you have necessarily done anything wrong) – it’s the landlord essentially saying, “the tenancy has expired, I would now like you to vacate the property”
A landlord does not need any reason whatsoever to serve a section 21 notice. It’s what is known as a “no-fault” eviction/repossession.
The Section 21 can only be served 4 months after the beginning of a fixed-term tenancy for tenants in England or Wales, but the tenant is allowed to stay in the property until the specified end date (unless the landlord has grounds to evict). The tenant must also receive 2 months notice!
For example, if a tenancy begins on the 1st January 2018 and is due to end on the 1st January 2019, the landlord should serve the Section 21 before 1st November (allowing 2 months notice) if the landlord wants the tenant to vacate on the 1st January 2019. If the notice is served after the 1st of November, then the tenant has a legal right to remain in the property until after the 1st of January 2019, as the tenancy will have automatically rolled into a periodic tenancy. Where the tenancy has become periodic, the notice given must expire on the last day of a rent period. For example, if a monthly periodic tenancy rent day is the 2nd of the month, the two month notice period must end on the 1st of the month in question.
Being told to leave during a periodic tenancy
A periodic tenancy automatically follows the fixed-term if the landlord and tenant do nothing (i.e. they do not sign another agreement) and the tenancy will be on the same terms and conditions as the original agreement. The period of the tenancy will be determined by the rent payment schedule. For example, if the rent was paid monthly, the tenancy will become a monthly periodic tenancy, or a weekly periodic tenancy if the rent was paid weekly.
If a tenancy has officially rolled into a periodic tenancy, then a landlord can serve a Section 21 notice at any point, informing the tenant to leave in two months time (assuming rent is paid on a month-by-month basis). The notice given must also expire on the last day of a rent period. Again, this is NOT an “eviction” process- this is the landlord simply saying, “the tenancy has expired, I would now like you to vacate the property”
Can my landlord evict me for complaining?
I received the email below a few weeks ago, and it’s quite a good example of a real life case.
We reported our landlord for not using Gas Safe Registered Contractor for fitting in new boiler, he has admitted to GAS SAFE that this is correct, and matter is being investigated. Landlord has now given us notice to quit, do we have any rights regarding this
If you look through the list of grounds for eviction, there is nothing in there which states a landlord has the right to evict their tenant for reporting a landlord for neglecting their legal responsibilities (go figure). So a landlord cannot serve a valid Section 8 notice (“notice to quit”) based on the scenario above.
However, the landlord *may* have the legal right to serve a Section 21 notice, even if the tenant did nothing wrong besides from rub the landlord the wrong way (not in the good way), but it depends on whether the tenant lodged an official complaint first (it actually sounds like she did in this case, so the landlord won’t be able to serve a section 21 either).
I’ve already covered this specific topic in quite a lot of detail, so I won’t go over it again. So if you’re a tenant that is facing a potential eviction after lodging a complaint about a matter of disrepair, you may wish to read my blog post on revenge evictions, because it may provide further insight on your rights.
Anyone have anything to add? Please share!
Disclaimer: I'm just a simple landlord blogger; I'm not qualified to give legal or financial advice. Any information I share is my opinion based on my personal experiences as an active landlord, and should never be construed as legal or professional advice. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.