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I've been served with a notice to leave my home by my landlord

A more detailed version of the advice contained on this webpage is available for download.

If you are not a council tenant and your landlord has given you a notice and asked you to leave the property, then they have most likely served you with either a Section 21 notice or a Section 8 notice.

Section 21 Notice

This is a formal notice issued by your landlord for you to leave the property. It is considered a mandatory possession.

Step 1- For a Section 21 notice to be valid: 

  • It must be provided in a written format by your landlord  
  • It must give you two months’ notice  
  • You must have an assured shorthold tenancy  
  • It must expire at the end of or after your fixed-term tenancy  

Step 2 - Possession order: 

  • After the two months’ notice has ended and you have not left the property, your landlord must apply to court and obtain a possession order which will give you a scheduled date to leave.  
  • The court will send defence papers to you. You have 14 days to complete and return them to court. This is your only opportunity to inform the court of incorrect notices / non-protection of tenancies etc.  

Step 3 - Notice of Eviction 

  • When the date to leave on the possession order expires, your landlord must go back to the court and apply for notice of eviction which gives a date for bailiffs to remove you from the property. You will be informed of the bailiff warrant in advance by the courts to give you time to pack your belongings.


Section 8 Notice

This is a formal notice issued by your landlord for you to leave the property due to a breach of the tenancy.

Step 1- For a Section 8 notice to be valid: 

  • It must be a written notice and state the time after which the landlord can apply to the court for a possession order. 
  • You must have an assured tenancy 
  • It must state the reason (grounds) the landlord is seeking possession  
  • The Notice remains valid for one year

 Step 2 - Possession order 

  • After the notice has expired your landlord can apply to court for a possession order. The notice period may vary from: immediate, 14 days or 2 months. The period depends on the ground being used for eviction and whether you have a fixed term tenancy or not.  
  • The court will send you documents telling you about your landlord’s eviction claim. You can fill in these documents and put in a defence which will help the court reach a decision. You can also go to the court hearing. If you miss the deadline to send in your defence; it is not too late as you can attend the court hearing to file a defence. There may be a duty solicitor or a CAB advisor available to help you.  
  • If mandatory grounds are proven to the court, the court has to make a possession order. If discretionary grounds are used, it is up to the court to decide if a possession order is reasonable.  
  • A possession order can be an outright order, a suspended order or be a money judgement.

 Step 3 - Eviction 

  • An outright order means you must leave the property by the date given on the order. This is usually 14 days after the court order. If you have not left by this date your landlord can apply to court for bailiffs to evict you.  
  • A suspended or postponed order means you can stay if you meet the conditions explained in the order. If you breach the conditions your landlord can apply to court for bailiffs to evict you.

In both cases, you should attempt to contact your landlord immediately to attempt to seek a resolution. Do not ignore the situation.

If this is not possible, you should seek further advice. The council will be able to inform you of your rights and the options available to you.