If you’re living in assured shorthold tenancy and you receive a Section 21 notice, it means that your landlord is taking steps to have you evited from your home. This could be for a number of reasons, however, in many cases it’s because your landlord either wants to sell their property or move back into that property.
It’s important to know your rights as a tenant, though, so if you do receive a Section 21 notice, you should take the following steps:
Do You Have to Leave Your Home?
A Section 21 notice will come with a proposed end date, which is when your landlord would like you to move out. If this date doesn’t suit you, you can ask your landlord for an extension. This should be done in writing and you must keep a copy of all correspondence as this may be needed for you to use as evidence in the future.
Your landlord can not force you out your home. Indeed, you can only be forced to leave once your landlord has gone to court and received a warrant for your eviction – and then it’s the court bailiffs that will evict you. A landlord can only take their Section 21 notice to court after the proposed end date to your tenancy. You can also contact the court yourself and ask for the courts to let you stay in the property for longer.
Never leave the property before the end date on your Section 21 notice if you have not found new accommodation!
Do You Still Need to Pay Rent?
You will still need to pay rent on your home until your tenancy ends – such as the end date on your Section 21 notice. When you believe you have paid all the rent you owe, get your landlord to confirm in writing that you have paid all your rent in full. You should both sign this letter and keep it for your records.
If you don’t pay rent, your landlord will take you to court for the money. You may also receive a bad reference, which means you could struggle to find a new home.
What Happens if You Receive Court Papers?
If you have received a Section 21 notice and have stayed in the property past the end of tenancy date, you will likely receive court papers telling you that your landlord is taking legal action to have you removed. Known as a Possession Claim, you can take this opportunity to fill in a N11B Defence Form, stating the reasons why you should not be removed from your home yet.
These reasons might include:
- You feel you’re being evicted due to a disability
- You feel you’re being discriminated against
- You feel like you’re being evicted because you complained about discrimination in the past
Keep in mind, if you do go to court, you may be liable to pay court fees, however you may be eligible for legal aid depending on your circumstances.
If you’re unsure how to deal with a Section 21 notice or court papers, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau and they will be able to guide you through the process.