Last Updated: January 2017
Remaining in Your Home
You have a right to remain in your home
You have a right to remain in your home for six months (or longer if you have a tenacy with a longer fixed term) provided you are not breaking the law or the terms of your tenancy. As a Shorthold tenant you cannot be forced to leave unless your landlord applies to court for a possession order and the court orders you to leave by a certain date. If you are still in your home after that date, your landlord cannot force you out without getting a bailiff from the court.
Section 21 procedure
If your landlord wants you to leave without evidence that you have done anything wrong (such as not paying the rent), he can only force you to leave by following a process which is usually called a Section 21 procedure. This is because it is set out in s.21 of the Housing Act 1988. This procedure starts with a s.21 Notice of Requiring Possession.
You cannot be forced to leave IF:
- You have not received a written Notice Requiring Possession giving you at least two months before the notice period expires.
- The date the Notice expires is less than six months since your original tenancy began.
- The date of the Notice is served during a Fixed-Term tenancy and ends before the last day of the Fixed Term Tenancy or before the ‘break clause’ can be used if there is one.
- You paid a tenancy deposit and your landlord has not protected it in a Government-approved Scheme.
- You live in a house that should be licensed by your local Council but the house has not been licensed.
- You have been given the correct Notice, you do not have to leave during the notice period. If you remain in your home after that date, the landlord must apply to court.
- If you are still in your home when the notice given in the Possession Order expires, the landlord cannot force you to leave. He must return to court and apply for an Eviction Notice. Then the Bailiffs will give you a date when they are coming and then you really must go.
And if your Tenancy was renewed on or after 1st October 2015, you cannot be forced to leave IF:
- The landlord does not use the correct form to give you at least two months’ notice.
- The landlord gives you notice within the first four months of your original tenancy
- You paid a deposit to your landlord or the letting agent and any of these apply:
- The deposit wasn’t protected in government approved scheme (see Rents, Rent Increases and Your Deposit)
- The deposit was not protected within 30 days of when you have paid it
- You have not been given information about the tenancy deposit scheme used
- If your deposit was not protected, or was protected late, your landlord must return the deposit to you in full before they can give you a Section 21 notice.
- The Landlord has given you all of the following
- An Energy Performance Certificate
- A current gas safety record
- The Government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide (a paper copy unless you agree to accept notices and correspondence by email)
And if you have complained about repairs or conditions there are extra rules (if your tenancy started or was renewed on or after 1 October 2015), you cannot be forced to leave IF:
- The notice was served after you complained in writing to your landlord about repairs or conditions
- Your landlord did not deal with these issues
- You reported these issues to the council
- The council gave your landlord an Improvement Notice or a Notice that they would do Emergency Works (within six months of the date of the councils notice to the landlord).
But if the s.21 Notice was served correctly and you do not tell the court that there is anything wrong with the Notice, the court must issue a Possession Order. They could also ask you to pay the landlord’s legal costs.
Remember that, if you are a family with children and you think you may need help from your local Council in finding another home, you should not move out until the Court orders you to do so. If you do, the Council will say that you have made yourself homeless intentionally. That means they don’t have a legal duty to help you find another home.