Private Sector Tenant Advice
Here you can find information on different types of tenancy agreements, being served a notice to vacate your property and information about tenancy deposit schemes. There are also links to helpful leaflets.
Information for tenants
Most private rented properties are Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST). Any tenancy created after 28th Feb 1997 will be an AST. The initial fixed term of these is normally 6 months but can be anything over that. Once the fixed term expires it would roll into a contractual periodic tenancy that runs indefinitely from one rent period to the next.
Your rent period is the time between your rent payments. For example if your rent payment is monthly and is due on the 15th of the month then the rent period will run from the 15th of that month to the 14th of the following month.
Also, a tenancy agreement is created even if there is no written agreement. The occupier, with a tenancy created orally, has the same rights as one with a written contract as long as they have:
- Moved into the property
- Paid rent
- Have exclusive occupation i.e. live there solely and not with the landlord.
Being Served Notice on a Property
Section 21 Notices
The Housing Act 1988 allows recovery of possession of the property at the end of the fixed term. The notice must be properly drafted with the following:
- Must be in writing.
- Must state "possession required under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988".
- Must give a notice period of at least two months.
- If the fixed term has not expired then the notice cannot expire before the end of the fixed term.
If you do not give up possession then your landlord must go to Court and apply for a Court Order. It should also be noted that if the landlord is required to register a deposit and hasn't done so they cannot use the Section 21 notice to gain possession.
Section 8 Notices
This type of notice is used when a landlord wishes to get possession from you before the fixed term has come to an end. Your landlord would then serve notice of his intention to seek possession under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988.
A Section 8 notice is usually used when there is some default on the part of you as the tenant. The most common type of default during the term of the tenancy will be non-payment of rent, but any breaches of the terms of the tenancy agreement can also start possession proceedings, for example if you damage the property or are a nuisance to your neighbours. The court will require that your landlord or agent is able to show adequate evidence or proof of the problems caused before the court will order you to move out of your rented home.
When claiming possession under Section 8, the claimant, your landlord may cite more than one ground in their claim, this is advised as it adds to their case against you. Some of the grounds are mandatory, which means that if a landlord proves that one of the grounds applies the court has no choice but to award possession to your landlord. The other grounds are discretionary, and the court will only award possession if it is reasonable to do so.
A Section 8 notice may be served by post or in person. If there is more than one tenant the notice must be served on all tenants. The court will recognise the day of postal service as the day on which the letter would normally have arrived.
Once the section 8 notice has been issued to you the landlord is required to wait until the notice has expired - this is the date given on the notice, before taking any further action.
If you have not vacated, or paid up any rent arrears by this point, then it will be necessary to start the court possession proceedings. This is done by obtaining the appropriate forms from the local court (forms N5 and N119) and payment of the appropriate court fee.
Lodgings / live-in landlord
There are no rights for you through security of tenure if you are a lodger. In order for you to be asked to leave your landlord only has to give you reasonable notice. Ideally this should be no less than a week but this cannot be enforced.
Tenancy Deposit Protection
Please follow the link below for information about Tenancy Deposit Protection
Please see our leaflets and information pages for further guidance. Also for a quick guide see Assured & Assured Shorthold Tenancies - A Guide for Tenants [498kb]
|[30kb]||Tenancy Deposit Protection||Information on tenancy deposit protection for all assured short hold tenancies created after 6th April 2007|
The documents in this section are in Adobe Acrobat format (pdf). You will need Acrobat Reader to view these files which can be downloaded from the Adobe website free of charge.