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What is the eviction process for shorthand tenancies (AST)

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

When UK landlords evict tenants in the London, UK on an assured shorthand tenancy there are specific steps you must follow to ensure that it is done legally and effectively. Failure of landlords to follow these strict steps could lead to you being guilty of harassment or illegal eviction of your tenants.

There are two types of assured shorthand tenancies (AST).  

Fixed-Term Tenancies - run for a set amount of time with a start and end date

Periodic Tenancies - have no fixed end date and run week by week or month by month. These can be the result of a fixed-term tenancy which has expired and a new fixed-term tenancy has not yet been signed.

1. Giving notice of eviction on a London UK property.

There are 2 types of notices you can issue, Section 21 or Section 8.

Section 21 notice of possession

  • is served to give notice to the UK tenant and states that you can take back possession of the UK based property at the end of the fixed-term tenancy agreement or implement an agreed break clause

  • you will not need to provide any reason to claim possession with a Section 21 notice

  • can be used if there is no fixed end date of the tenancy agreement

It is important to serve the Section 21 in the correct manner:

  • giving the correct amount of notice in writing and ensuring that you specify a date of possession

  • tenants should be given no less than 2 month’s notice

  • as a landlord, you should be accommodating and reasonable, especially if the tenants have been good

  • it is important as a London or UK landlord, not to be seen as harassing or displaying any anti-social behaviour towards the tenants, should a dispute arise from the notice, a tenant could claim harassment damages in court

A Section 21 notice according to UK law:

  • cannot be served during the first 4 months of a tenancy unless it has been renewed following the end of a fixed term

  • is only valid for 6 months from the date of issue if possession proceedings are not issued within 6 months another notice will need to be served

  • will become invalid, if the tenant has made legitimate complaints about the condition of the property to the local housing authority before the Section 21 notice has been served

  • must be requested using Form 6A

To ensure that Section 21 can be used the tenant must be given the following information:

  • The ‘How to Rent’ guide, which is provided on the website

  • A gas safety certificate

  • An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Section 8 eviction notice

  • the landlord must serve the notice when there are grounds for eviction such as rent arrears, damage or disrepair to the property, or nuisance problems or breach of the tenancy agreement by the tenant

  • this type of notice is served during the fixed term agreement

  • it is important to note that the tenant may dispute the eviction notice in which case, it could go to court

  • landlords will then need to present evidence to support your reason for eviction.

You will need to give your tenants notice by issuing a Section 8 and complete the Notice Seeking Possession of a Property or Let. You will need to state what terms of the tenancy have been breached and give between 2 week's and 2 month’s notice.

When a landlord serves a Section 8 notice in London or the UK, it would be in landlords best interest to get the tenant to surrender the tenancy or mutually agree to it before serving the notice. If the tenancy is approaching the end date of the agreed tenancy, it may be better for the landlord to consider a Section 21 notice instead.

According to UK law a section 8 does not guarantee an eviction, and if it does go to court the tenant may have already corrected, or remedied the breach of contract that initiated the eviction process, this means that the outcome would not be in your favour. A tenant may also ignore the notice and the courts may not decide in your favour either.

If the tenants do not leave by the specified date, then the landlord will need to apply to the court for a possession order.

2. Make a Possession Order

Landlords can take action if their tenant refuses to leave by the specified date after being served an eviction notice.

To accelerate a possession order, you can serve a Section 21 notice in order to do this, there should be a written tenancy agreement and no claim for any unpaid rent.

If you are wanting to take back possession of your property and at the same time claim unpaid rent from the tenant, you can use the standard possession claim by serving either a Section 8 or 21 notice.

3. Apply for a Warrant for Possession

Should the tenant no vacate the property after the order for possession has expired, the landlord can then instruct the County Court Bailiff to evict. In the UK this process can take a further 4 to 6 weeks or more, depending on the County Court.

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