The correct procedure when you want to end a tenancy
Updated: 26 Feb 2017
The only legal way to end a tenancy is for the landlord to give the tenant at least 28 days written notice to quit. Court proceedings cannot commence until the end of this period. There is no obligation, in a fixed term tenancy, to serve a notice to quit, although it is good practice to do so.
Protected and statutory tenancies have considerable security of tenure and can only be ended with a court order which will only be granted in certain circumstances. You are advised to get advice from a solicitor.
Eviction of tenants
You must by law give the tenant at least 28 days written notice to quit. Court proceedings cannot begin until the end of this period. You will need to get a court order before evicting the tenant. If it is a fixed term tenancy you do not have to give the tenant notice but you must still get a court order.
The possession order ends the tenant’s right to remain in your property. If a possession order is made the tenant may be liable for your legal costs. You must apply to the Enforcement of Judgements Office to get the tenant evicted. The Enforcement of Judgements Office will charge you for enforcing the order. You may be able to recover the money from the tenant.
Harassment and illegal eviction
All tenants have a basic right in law not to be harassed or illegally evicted from a dwelling.
District councils have the power to prosecute landlords who harass or illegally evict tenants.
Examples of harassment
You might be guilty of harassment if:
- you change the locks while the tenant is out or you stop the tenant from getting into the property
- you withdraw or withhold services reasonably required for the occupation of the dwelling house as a residence
- you act in a way that interferes with the peace and comfort of the tenant or members of his household
- you threaten to use violence or behaviour which is sexually or racially motivated
An illegal eviction occurs where the landlord deprives a tenant of the occupation of all or part of the property without due process of law. Unless it is a fixed term tenancy, the landlord must serve the tenant with a written notice to quit giving him at least 28 days written notice of the date the landlord wishes the tenant to leave. The tenant can remain in the property until the notice expires.
Court proceedings to evict the tenant can only start once this period has ended. The tenant cannot be made to leave the property until an Order for Possession has been granted by the court and, if necessary, enforced by the Enforcement of Judgements Office.