Housing policy is devolved in the UK, meaning each country has the power to make their own lettings regulations.
As a result, some of the rules around letting property can vary wildly between nations and the process for evicting a tenant is just one example of that.
Through the pandemic, each country had different temporary rules that landlords had to stay on top of, and even though things have only recently returned to ‘normal’, permanent changes to the eviction process will soon be made in Wales and England.
So, here’s a summary of the current eviction rules and the changes landlords need to prepare for in the coming months:
- If you want to evict a tenant who hasn’t breached their agreement (AST), you can issue a Section 21. You must give at least two months’ notice for them to leave and you don’t have to state a reason.
- A tenant can’t be evicted within a fixed term unless they’ve breached their agreement, but you can give notice within that term. So, if it’s a 12-month tenancy with a six-month break clause, you can serve a Section 21 any time up to the end of month four, requiring them to leave at the end of month six.
- If the tenant has breached their agreement, you can issue a Section 8 notice. In that case, you must use the government’s Form 3, specifying the ground(s) on which you’re evicting them. The notice period will vary depending on the ground, but it’s generally between 2 weeks and 2 months. If there’s been illegal activity, no notice is required.
Under the Renters’ Reform Bill, which is expected to progress through Parliament later this year, the Government intends to scrap Section 21. That means landlords in England will no longer be able to evict tenants after the end of a fixed term without giving a specific reason.
At the same time, Section 8 will be reformed to expand and strengthen the grounds for repossession, to make sure landlords can still get their property back when they need to.
See current government information on Section Notices at the GOV.UK website.
The Section 21 and Section 8 notice procedures are currently the same as in England.
From 15th July 2022:
Changes under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 come into force. At that point:
- The Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) will be replaced by an ‘occupation contract’ and ‘tenants’ will be known as ‘contract-holders’.
- Section 21 and Section 8 notices will be scrapped and replaced with similar alternatives.
- The two-month notice period for a ‘no fault’ eviction will be replaced by a six-month notice, and landlords won’t be able to give notice within the first six months of the contract. Effectively, that means an initial minimum 12-month contract commitment for landlords.
- If the contract-holder breaches their contract, landlords will have to give a month’s notice. If the breach involves anti-social behaviour or serious rent arrears, the notice period can be shorter.
Further information is available at the Welsh Government website.
- 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 must 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 the tenant has breached their tenancy agreement, you must give them 28 days’ notice.
See the mygov.scot website for more information on how to tell your tenant they need to leave your property.
- In all cases, if you want to evict a tenant, you must issue them with a notice to quit in writing. The notice period depends on the length of the tenancy:
- Five years or less – at least four weeks’ notice
- More than five years, up to ten years – at least eight weeks’ notice
- More than ten years – at least 12 weeks’ notice.
- You cannot issue a notice to quit during the initial term of the tenancy contract unless the tenant has breached the agreement.
More information is available at the nidirect website.
If you have any questions about ending a tenancy, we’re always here to help. Just get in touch with your local Your Move branch and speak to one of the team.