Section 21 eviction process is a formal eviction request. In order to get one of these, you must be living in England or Wales and your property should meet the minimum standards for adequate housing. Section 21 notices can only be issued by an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) and in some cases (if you rent from a local council) may need to adopt a different procedure under s25(1)(b). If you own your home, then this notice will not apply.
An AST is when the person renting does not have full status as a tenant or homeowner but has rights such as possession after 6 months occupation (see tenancy agreement) but less security than the normal contract that would provide them with full tenant status.
An AST can be created in 2 ways:
If a person has been living in the home as their main residence and the property is habitable, they will automatically gain an AST after 4 weeks. This is assuming that rent has not been paid for this period of time and there are no other formal contract documents drawn up. If this occurs then you have to give 2 months notice but do not have to give a reason for leaving, only that you require possession to which they cannot object under s21 ground 8.
You can also create an AST by giving your tenant at least 6 months’ notice – known as a tenancy agreement or contractual periodic tenancy. After 6 months if no objections are stated then tenants become assured shorthold tenants. The landlord can use section 21 notice to evict you and get possession of the property.
The section 21 notice is often misunderstood by landlords and tenants alike. A lot of people think that s21 notices are always needed when ending a tenancy; however, this is not true. The Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) only requires the landlord to give 2 months’ notice before eviction if there is no order from a judge or magistrate – or even if they’ve agreed to some other terms with their tenant(s). If the tenant reaches out and requests more time for instance, then it becomes more complicated and usually ends in court and gets expensive and slow. While many believe that giving your tenants a verbal warning or ‘notice’ will suffice, it actually doesn’t in most cases.
If the tenant doesn’t leave the property when s21 is served they will have to be evicted by a court order, which takes time and incurs fees for the landlord. There are some exceptions such as if you get a court order for possession under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 (grounds for possession) before serving the notice which can avoid lengthy eviction proceedings. This is often highlighted by letting agents or landlords themselves who know that tenants can stay without paying rent indefinitely until forced out via court order- this results in people prioritizing getting an S8 overusing s21 and allows them to avoid eviction recovery costs and loss of rental income due to void periods during which they’d let the property out again.