I've received a section 21 notice asking me to leave. What can I do?
You cannot be asked to leave without a formal "notice to quit" from your landlord.
A section 21 notice, also known as a no-fault eviction, allows landlords to ask a tenant to leave a property in England with two months' notice and no reason given. However, before going anywhere it's important to check whether the notice is valid or not.
To use a no-fault eviction a landlord must have done every one of the following:
- protected your deposit correctly, within 30 days of the tenancy starting and providing you with certain information about this
- given you the government's How To Rent guide, a valid gas safety certificate and a valid energy performance certificate
- not charged you a fee prohibited by the Tenant Fees Act
- licensed their property with the council (if required)
- not have received an improvement notice or emergency works notice from the council in the last six months. (This offers tenants some protection from "revenge" evictions.)
The rules for issuing a notice are also very specific and explained in greater depth on the Nearly Legal blog.
If the notice is invalid, don't tell the landlord (as they might simply reissue a valid notice), but be prepared to defend yourself in court. Consider contacting your local renters union or expert advice organisations for help.
Even if the notice is valid, your landlord must still get a court order and bailiffs to force you to move. If you are evicted illegally you could get repayment of rent.
You can contact your local council if you need help finding a new home.