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Tenants are entitled to stay in their apartments as long as they respect the lease. But in some specific situations, the owner of the residential building can repossess the apartment or evict the tenant. As a landlord in the UK, if you’re stuck with a problem tenant who’s not paid the rent you cannot just ask them to leave or change the lock of their property. The tenant has every right of occupation due to their tenancy agreement, so you need to make sure you serve them with a notice of eviction before making an application to the court.

The courts in England and Wales will only allow the landlord to take possession of the property if the fixed term of the tenancy has come to an end and the landlord has given at least two months’ notice to the tenant in writing before starting court proceedings.

However, if the tenant is in breach of any part of the agreement, then the landlord may apply for the repossession, even if the tenancy agreement has not come to an end. The landlord can rely on any of the grounds 2,8,10,11,12, 13,14,14A, 15 or 17 as applies to assured tenancies.

Before the Landlord can take any action to obtain a Possession Order from the Court, he or she must first serve a Notice of Intention to seek possession. The amount of notice required will be determined by the ground on which the landlord seeks a Possession Order.

For ground 2, the Landlord must give two months’ notice.

For grounds 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 14A, 15 and 17 the landlord must give two weeks’ notice.

The notice must be given on a special form that informs the tenants about their rights (Section 8 Notice). If the proceedings are not started within 12 months of the notice being served, a new notice must be served.

Reasons to End the Tenancy Early

The landlord may want to end the tenancy early if |

  • The tenant has not paid the rent and continues to live on the property
  • The tenant has caused damage to the property and has failed to repair it despite being notified by the landlord
  • The tenant is not permitted to live in the United Kingdom

Before you can get a Possession Order from the court to end the tenancy, you must first serve a section 8 notice on the tenant.

What is eviction and when can a landlord evict a tenant?

Eviction means obliging a tenant to leave.

Owners can only evict a tenant if they intend to divide up the rental unit, demolish it, extend it, or change what it is used for, unlike repossession. An owner might seek to convert a residential property into an office building, for example.

The term dissolution of the lease” refers to the owner’s desire to terminate a lease because the tenant has failed to pay rent or fulfil other obligations under the lease. It’s not the same as being evicted, and the rules aren’t the same.

What are the time limits for sending notices of eviction or repossession?

If the landlord wants to evict a tenant or repossess must notify the tenant in writing within these time limits |

  • six months before the lease ends, if the lease is for a set length of time over six months
  • one month before the lease ends, if the lease is for six months or less
  • six months before the date of repossession or eviction for leases without a set length
  • if the fixed term of the tenancy has come to an end and the landlord has given at least two months’ notice to the tenant in writing before starting court proceedings.


Can a tenant challenge a repossession or eviction?



Within one month of getting the notice, tenants must notify the landlord whether they agree or refuse to leave. If they don’t do this, they are considered to have refused to leave.


The rules are different for evictions. Tenants have one month from the time they receive the notice of eviction to notify the owner whether they accept or refuse to leave. If they forget to do this, they are assumed to have accepted to leave.

Tenants who refuse to leave can either try to reach an agreement with the owner or apply to the court before the end of the one-month time limit.

So, it’s very important for tenants to notify the owner of their refusal and to file an application with the court within the time limit. Owners must prove to the court that they truly intend to divide, demolish, enlarge, or change the use of the apartment, as the law allows.

What happens if the eviction or repossession does not happen on the scheduled date?

If the tenant continues to live in the property without objection from the owner, and the owner doesn’t repossess or evict on the scheduled date, the lease is automatically renewed.

If the court refuses the repossession or eviction, the lease continues. And if the court makes this decision after the time limit for avoiding renewal or modification of the lease, the lease is automatically renewed.

The owner has one month from the date of the court’s decision to ask the court to decide on the rent.


If you already have a possession order and need experts to drive it ahead for you, please speak to our expert team who can guide you on timelines costs and any procedural points you need to complete before you pay our fee.

Shergroup has a dedicated team of High Court Enforcement Officers who’d help you in carrying out the eviction and repossession of your property process smoothly and lawfully.

Feel free to contact our business solutions advisors to get your process expedited.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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