September 7, 2023
How Much Notice Does a Landlord Have to Give Tenants to Move Out?
As a responsible landlord, it’s crucial to understand your obligations and rights when it comes to ending a tenancy. One of the most critical aspects of this process is providing your tenants with the correct amount of notice to vacate the property. But how much notice does a landlord have to give tenants to move out? The answer depends on several factors including the type of tenancy; all which have their own rules.
How to end an assured shorthold tenancy
An assured shorthold tenancy (AST) is the most common tenancy agreement in the UK. Most ASTs are ended by serving a Section 21 notice.
Landlords must give a minimum of two months’ notice if they wish to regain possession of the property, but it can be longer depending upon what was signed in the original tenancy agreement.
In certain cases, when serving a Section 21 notice, the landlord can take back the property without giving any reason, providing:
- The tenants’ deposit has been protected in an official deposit protection scheme
- It has been at least 6 months since the tenant signed the original tenancy agreement
- The tenant has a periodic tenancy, or a fixed term tenancy and you are not asking them to leave before the end of the fixed term
Be sure to read up on the rules regarding Section 21, because there are several reasons when you cannot use it to evict tenants. These include if you haven’t previously given tenants copies of:
- The property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
- The government’s How to Rent Guide
- A current gas safety certificate for the property, if gas is installed
These factors are all essential check-list items to complete before renting out a property.
If a tenant breaks the terms of their lease, for example by failing to pay the rent, causing damage or using the property in an illegal way, then the landlord can give the tenant between 2 weeks’ and 2 months’ notice depending on which terms they have broken, by serving a Section 8 notice.
How much notice does a landlord have to give when ending a periodic tenancy?
Most AST agreements will give an initial fixed term, usually of 6 or 12 months. Once this period has ended, if the tenant does not sign a new contract, then the tenancy agreement automatically becomes a periodic tenancy. At this point it moves to a monthly rolling contract, charging the same rent and keeping the same terms.
Ending a periodic tenancy will act in the same way as ending an AST tenancy, i.e. the landlord must give 2 months’ notice via the Section 21 notice.
Ending a fixed term tenancy
You may be wondering, how much notice does a landlord have to give a tenant who has a fixed term tenancy?
If a tenant breaks the terms of their lease by causing damage or behaving illegally, then the landlord can again serve a Section 8 notice.
If the tenant hasn’t broken the terms of their lease, then neither the landlord nor the tenant can end the tenancy until the fixed term is over. When this period is up, the landlord can serve a Section 21 notice to evict tenants and reclaim the property.
How much notice does a landlord have to give when ending an ‘excluded tenancy’?
An ‘excluded tenancy’ is a rental agreement for a lodger who lives in the property with the landlord, and who shares communal rooms such as the kitchen and lounge.
To serve notice on an excluded tenancy agreement, the law states that you must provide “reasonable notice.” Usually, the definition of “reasonable” means matching the length of rental payment. So for example, if you collect rent from your lodger on a monthly basis, you would give them one month’s notice.
Can a ‘break clause’ be used to end a tenancy agreement?
If there is a break clause in the tenancy agreement which allows for early termination, then this can be used to serve notice to the tenant.
However, it is unlikely that a break clause can be used to terminate an agreement during the first six months of a tenancy. Be sure to abide by the notice periods in these circumstances.
Are there any other ways to evict a tenant?
If the reason for the eviction is due to criminal behaviour, you may be able to reduce the notice period and should seek legal advice about how to do so.
If your tenants have not left your property by the date specified in your Section 21 notice and you are not claiming rent arrears, then you can apply for an Accelerated Possession Order. This is often quicker than applying for a Standard Possession Order, and there is usually no court hearing.
What happens if a tenant refuses to leave your property?
We’ve answered the question “How much notice does a landlord have to give?” but what happens if you follow the rules and have given notice, but your tenant has not left the property? In this situation you will have to go to court to evict them.
Remember, you have no legal right to remove them yourself, change the locks or remove their belongings. Instead, you will need to consult a specialist lawyer to help you navigate the next steps.
How can landlords avoid having to evict tenants?
Dealing with the paperwork and understanding the laws around evicting tenants is time consuming and stressful. You will need to ensure that you abide by the terms of the lease and carry out the correct protocol.
To save time and hassle, you may want to consider a guaranteed rent scheme which will take care of all the legalities of renting for you.
With a guaranteed rent scheme, you are paid a set rental rate for an agreed amount of time. The payment arrives with you every month, regardless of whether or not the tenants are paying their rent, and even if they vacate the property. You don’t have to worry about terminating contracts or evicting tenants, as this is all taken care of on your behalf.
As well as all of these benefits, the City Borough Housing guaranteed rent scheme is also backed by a full property management service, so that your property remains well maintained, and repairs are taken care of, without you having to pay a penny extra. The scheme also deals with the administrative tasks of sourcing new tenants, the legal paperwork, referencing and handling queries from the tenants. You’ll also have your property returned to you in its pre-let condition at the end of the agreement, allowing for fair wear and tear.
To learn more about how a guaranteed rent scheme could benefit you as a landlord, and to request your free rental valuation, please get in touch with our friendly team.