Private landlords have been given more leeway when it comes to asserting power over residents. A tenant must now respond more quickly to notices that are handed out by their landlords.
A notice from your landlord is the first step your landlord can take to end your tenancy. However, eviction is a legal process that takes time.
There are 3 stages for most private renters. Firstly, they need to provide you with appropriate notice. After that, the process can go to court before deciding if an eviction is necessary or not. If landlords do not follow this order then they could be breaking the law and illegally evicting you.
A landlord has to give any occupants enough notice to respond to the situation and it also has to be the right kind of notice. Most landlords have tenants that are on short-term tenancies, meaning that they could be entitled to a section 21 notice or a section 8 notice.
You are allowed to have a legal written notice, even if you don’t have a tenancy agreement.
Notice period times changed several times over the course of the pandemic and there were new changes that came into power on October 1. If you were given a notice during the pandemic, it would be wise to check that you were given the correct amount of notice. You should also find out if your landlord can still use the notice and it would then be sensible to seek out information as to what happens next.
A section 21 notice is the most common notice for an assured shorthold tenancy. Tenants will be given 20 days of minimum notice periods. That had been 4 months up until 30 September 2021 and it had been 6 months from 29 August 2020 to 31 May 2021.
A section 8 notice can also be used against an assured shorthold tenant and an assured tenant. An assured tenant would have moved in between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997, paid rent to their landlord, and they would not have received a notice from their landlord that stipulated otherwise.
Private landlords would be inclined to go down the route of a section 8 notice if a tenant had rent arrears.
Notice periods for rent arrears were extended temporarily during the pandemic but have now returned to a much shorter notice period. These periods can be as short as 2 weeks, following new changes on October 1, and it would be wise to check your own situation as soon as you can.
You might also be given a section 8 notice for other misdemeanours such as antisocial behaviour, for example.
A notice to quit has to:
- give at least 4 weeks worth of notice
- end on the first or last day of a tenancy period
- contain certain legal information, including where to get advice
It can only be used to end a rolling agreement. For example, a monthly or weekly agreement.
Your landlord will have to apply to involve the court if you don’t leave by the end of the notice.
Landlords can only give you a notice to quit if you’re a tenant who has basic protection.
You might be an occupier with basic protection if:
- you’re a property guardian
- you’re a student living in halls of residence
- your landlord lives in the same building but does not live in the same flat
- you rent a flat that is owned by your employer
Regulated or protected tenants will still continue to have strong tenancy rights. You can only be evicted if your landlord has a legitimate reason or the court agrees that eviction is reasonable.
The pandemic gave tenants a little bit more wiggle room when it came to their landlord relationships. Now that we are moving beyond the pandemic, the government feels that landlords deserve more power over their residents.
By and large, it simply means that tenants need to respond more quickly to notices. It makes good organisation and understanding of your own personal circumstances very important. Know your situation and know your rights.
It’s worth mentioning that the government provide a scheme called renting mediation. This can be less stressful and less expensive than going through a full hearing. Be sure to read up on this. The scheme is available to landlords and tenants.