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How difficult is it to evict a tenant on your own?

Posted 25/05/2024 by Your Move
Categories: Landlords/Lettings
Woman with paperwork

If you’re letting in England and your tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (ASTs), you have two options if you want to legally evict a tenant:

Serve a section 21 notice, using the government’s Form 6a

  • This can be used to end a tenancy where the tenants have not breached their tenancy agreement
  • You must give the tenant a minimum of two months’ notice to leave
  • This can be served any time after the initial four months of the tenancy, as long as the notice period expires after any fixed term has ended
  • You don’t have to state a reason for the eviction
  • If the tenant refuses to leave, you can put in an online accelerated possession claim, which is cheaper and quicker than going through the physical courts
  • Assuming you don’t make any mistakes (see below), the tenant has no recourse

Serve a section 8 notice, using the government’s Form 3

  • This is where the tenant has breached the terms of their tenancy agreement, or you have another legally valid reason for wanting to regain possession of the property
  • The ground(s) for the eviction must be stated
  • The minimum notice period will depend on the ground

Note: The tenancy doesn’t end simply because you serve a section 8 or section 21 notice - it ends either when the tenant vacates or a Court Order for possession is made. 

With both a section 21 and a section 8, there is a specific legal process that has to be followed, and you also need to understand what might prevent the eviction being legally valid.

For example, if you haven’t provided the tenant with a copy of the current gas safety certificate or have failed to make necessary repairs to the property, any section 21 notice served will not be enforceable. (These are just two of the prerequisites for using section 21.)


If you want to evict a tenant, you must issue them with a ‘Notice to Leave’ and at least one of the 18 grounds for eviction must apply. That means you can’t ask a tenant to leave without a legally valid reason.

If the tenant hasn’t breached their tenancy agreement, you have to give them:

- At least 28 days’ notice if they’ve lived in the property for six months or less

- At least 84 days’ notice if they’ve lived in the property for more than six months.

If there has been a breach, you must give the tenant at least 28 days’ notice.

See the website for more information.

The benefit of using professional services

Although you can evict a tenant yourself, if you make a mistake at any point in the process, the consequences could be one or more of the following:

  • It can take much longer to regain possession of your property
  • A judge may throw out your case and make a costs order in your tenant’s favour
  • You could have a tricky tenant living in your property and not paying any rent for however long it takes to have them removed – which could be many months

So, although there will be a cost to third-party services, it’s generally well worth having a specialist eviction company or an experienced letting agent like Your Move handle the eviction on your behalf.

It gives you peace of mind that the eviction is being handled by professionals, and you’re likely to regain possession and be able to re-let the property more quickly than if you tackle an unfamiliar legal process yourself.

Just make sure that any company you do use is properly regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and are familiar with this type of work.

For more information on evictions, take a look at our articles, ‘What are the rules around evicting a tenant in England?’ and ‘Notice periods and evictions around the UK’.

What will happen now that an election has been called?

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called an election for the 4th July 2024. This came as a shock as it had been widely speculated that the general election would be in Q4.

When a general election is announced this triggers a 'wash up', meaning that some bills are rushed through parliament while others are abandoned.

The Leasehold and Freehold Bill has been rushed through parliament, but the Renters (Reform) Bill has been abandoned.

However, all major parties have committed themselves to removing Section 21, so the Renters (Reform) Bill will likely be resurrected when the next government is established. Once formed, it usually takes a month or two for ministers to be fully briefed, but urgent items may be announced sooner.

Furthermore, the Finance Bill has been passed, which is significant as it implements measures from the Spring Budget.

Until the election, we will find out more about what each party's housing policies will be, and we will cover everything we know in our upcoming newsletters.


If you’d like to chat about any aspect of evicting a tenant, just contact your local lettings team here.

Find out about our landlord services here

The Your Move Content Marketing Team

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