Most tenancies are classed as assured shorthold tenancies. This gives a tenant the legal right to live in a property for a set period such as six months (this is known as a fixed term tenancy) or it might roll on a week-to-week or month-to-month basis (known as a periodic tenancy).
As a tenant you have the right to…
If you have a tenancy agreement, it must be fair and comply with the law. You can check the terms of your tenancy with your landlord and, if your tenancy started after March 1997, they are legally required to provide the following information within 28 days of receipt of the written request:
When you start a new assured or short assured tenancy, your landlord should provide you with a guide. This will lay out the rights and responsibilities of both you and your landlord. In England, this will be a How to rent guide.
In Scotland, you’ll receive the Tenant Information Pack.
Tenants have responsibilities as well as rights. As a tenant you must…
Your landlord can take legal action to evict you if you don’t meet your responsibilities, so make sure you adhere to them carefully.
Just because the landlord is the property owner, it doesn’t necessarily mean a tenant can be evicted without good reason. This depends whether tenants are on fixed term or periodic contracts. Fixed term tenants Eviction reasons include:
For the landlord to evict a tenant before their fixed term has expired, they are required to apply to the court for a possession order. The tenant must have first received a correctly written Section 8 Notice specifying the grounds the landlord has for the eviction.
Possession orders will only be granted by the court when they are satisfied that valid reasons have been given. The court might also deliberate on whether it is reasonable for the tenant to be evicted.
In the circumstance where a landlord wants to repossess the property without giving a reason, they must give two months' notice but the notice must not expire before the end of the fixed term.
It’s much easier for a landlord to evict their tenant if the tenancy is periodic or if the fixed term has come to an end and no new fixed tenancy has been arranged.
In this instance, the landlord is not required to give a reason to the court but they must be able to establish that the tenancy is an assured shorthold tenancy and that the correct Section 21 Notice to Quit has been served.
Notice must be at least two calendar months or the same period for which rent is paid, whichever is longest. The notice should also end on the last day of a rental period, i.e. the day before rent is due. If the tenants are still present in the property after this time, the landlord can apply for a court order.
Even with a periodic tenancy, a tenant still has some protections which they should be aware of:
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