Ending a Tenancy

Which country is your property in?

England Wales

Knowing how to end a tenancy is essential for any landlord. Despite less than 1% of tenancies ending via court action, the process can be difficult and frustrating with many landlords waiting for months for possession event even when everything has been done correctly.

As most landlords only seek possession where the tenant is breaching their contract, getting the possession process wrong can be extremely costly as the process must be restarted from the beginning.

Seeking possession during the coronavirus pandemic

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the government introduced a number of temporary measures affecting the private rented sector, in order to minimise movements during a health crisis and to ease the anxiety of tenants who might otherwise face homelessness as a result of changed financial circumstances as a result of the pandemic. This included temporarily suspending possession proceedings until 21 September 2020.

Regaining Possession Responsibly

Last Updated: 23/09/2020

Now that the courts have reopened, it is important that they can cope with demand and clear any backlog caused by the Covid crisis. To ensure that this can be done, the NRLA, the Chartered Institute of Housing, The Property Redress Scheme, My Deposits, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and ARLA Propertymark have created a guide to responsible possession.

This page contains the downloadable guide, containing information on the various changes to the court procedure as well as a pre-action checklist for you to work through. It also contains links to various resources on reactivating possession, notice period changes and using a bailiff during the pandemic.

Pre-Action Plan: Managing arrears and avoiding possession claims

Last Updated: 17/09/2020

The coronavirus crisis has brought considerable pressure on everybody, including tenants and landlords. Many have been able to weather the storm by coming to agreements over how rent is to be paid. It is important that this continues to sustain tenancies.

To help with this, the NRLA has produced guidance on what to do prior to seeking possession for rent arrears. These golden rules are designed to help landlords avoid the need to go to court by working with their tenants.

Coronavirus - Reactivating Possession Proceedings

Last Updated: 18/09/2020

Between 26 March 2020 and 20 September 2020 all possession proceedings were suspended in England and Wales. As the courts reopen, the courts will require landlords to confirm that their existing possession claim should be 'reactivated' via a reactivation notice.

Ending an Assured Shorthold Tenancy

Section 21 Notice

Section 21 Notices (Accelerated Possession)

Last Updated: 21/09/2020

The most common type of notice for assured shorthold tenancies; the Section 21 notice can be served once the tenant has lived in the property for at least four months and does not require you give your reason for possession. however, the notice cannot require possession before the end of the fixed term of the tenancy and you must meet all the additional requirements to serve a valid notice.

Get the form here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/assured-tenancy-forms#form-6a
Got your form from Gov.uk? Download Section 21 Completion Instructions

Section 8 Notice

Section 8 Notice | Ending Your Tenancy

Last Updated: 21/09/2020

If you have an assured or assured shorthold tenancy agreement then you may be able to use a Section 8 notice to seek possession instead. This notice can only be used where at least one of the grounds for possession set out in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 apply. 

Get the form here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/assured-tenancy-forms#form-3
Got your form from Gov.uk? Download Section 8 Completion Instructions

Grounds for Possession (Section 8)

Last Updated: 21/08/2020

If you are using a Section 8 notice then you will need to state which grounds you are relying on from Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 and why you are relying on them.

The grounds for possession fall into two categories:

  • Mandatory grounds where the tenant will definitely be ordered to leave if the landlord can prove the ground exists, and
  • Discretionary grounds where the judge has discretion on whether to grant possession 

This guide covers which grounds are mandatory, which are discretionary and when they should be used.

Notice to Quit

Notice to Quit | Landlord Form

Last Updated: 28/09/2020

Where your tenancy is not an assured or assured shorthold tenancy then it is likely to be a non-assured or common law tenancy instead. To end these types of agreement you will need to serve a notice to quit instead of a Section 21 or Section 8 notice.

How to serve a Notice

How To Serve A Notice | Landlord Guide

Last Updated: 29/09/2020

There are many different types of notice that a landlord may need to serve depending on their tenancy. These notices will each have their own specific requirements. However, whether it is a Section 21 notice or a notice to quit, there are certain practices that you should follow as a landlord if you want to ensure the notice is served correctly on a residential tenancy.

Applying to court for possession

If you have served a notice to end the tenancy and the tenants have not moved out, you will need a court order to regain possession of your property.

Applying To Court After Serving A Section 21

Last Updated: 22/09/2020

If you have used a Section 21 notice, in most cases this will mean using the accelerated possession procedure. The accelerated possession procedure does not normally require you to attend a court hearing. Instead, the judge makes their decisions after looking over the paperwork you sent in with the N5B form.

Get the N5B form here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-n5b-england-claim-form-for-possession-of-a-property-located-wholly-in-england-accelerated-procedure

Got the form from gov.uk? Download our completion instructions

Applying To Court For A Possession Hearing

Last Updated: 22/09/2020

If you are not entitled to use the accelerated possession procedure you will have to apply for a court hearing to receive a possession order. In most cases this will mean filling out a claim form (N5) and the particulars of claim form (N119).

Get the N5 form here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-n5-claim-form-for-possession-of-property

Get the N119 form here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-n119-particulars-of-claim-for-possession

Got your forms from gov.uk? Download our completion instructions

Applying For A Bailiff | Ending Your Tenancy

Last Updated: 21/09/2020

If your tenant does not move out by the date set by the court in the possession order, you will need to take enforcement action and apply for a bailiff to enforce the order. To do this, you must complete a warrant for possession of landlord (Form N325) and send it to the court that heard your possession claim.

Get your form from gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-n325-request-for-warrant-for-possession-of-land

Got the form: download our completion instructions

Ending a tenancy without a court order

Ending The Tenancy Early (deed of surrender)

Last Updated: 21/08/2020

Most tenancies end without the need for a court order because a tenant chooses to end it. Normally this is many years after they move in and long after the fixed term of the contract is over. However, sometimes a tenant will want to leave during the fixed term of the tenancy. This guidance contains resources on what you should do in the circumstances and how best to record this surrender.

Want to let your tenant surrender early? Download our Deed of Surrender.

Ending A Tenancy Without A Court Order | Surrender Or Abandonment

Last Updated: 21/08/2020

In most cases a tenancy will end when your tenant wants it to end. In these instances, a tenant will choose to leave by serving a notice on you and then vacating the property. Occasionally though, a tenant may leave the property without informing the landlord. As a landlord needs a court order to end the tenancy this can be problematic. This guide covers some of the things you need to consider in these circumstances if it happens to you.

Which country is your property in?

EnglandWales