Tenancies and evictions

Always research which type of tenancy you will be agreeing to before signing any contracts with a landlord.

Tenants should be aware that at any time, in the periodical phase of their tenancy, they can be evicted by landlords - tenants should bear this in mind when standing up for their rights.

Joint tenancies

If it's a joint tenancy, each tenant will be responsible for the actions of the others. So be careful who you sign up to these with - if one person doesn't pay their share of the rent, the others will be liable to make up the shortfall.

Joint liability clauses in shared tenancies mean you're responsible for the actions of your co-tenants in certain areas, as stated in the contract. So read it carefully to check exactly which areas you're jointly responsible for.

Fixed-term Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs)

Fixed-term tenancies run for a set amount of time, and landlords must give notice in a certain way for tenants with fixed-term tenancies. If tenants refuse to leave at the end of the notice period, the rules depend on whether the fixed term has ended or not.

During the fixed term, landlords can only evict tenants for certain reasons, such as not paying rent or anti-social behaviour, or there's a 'break clause' in the contract, allowing a landlord to take back the property before the end of the fixed term.

Tenants with a fixed-term agreement (eg for 12 months) do not necessarily have to move out when that period ends. If a new agreement is not signed, the tenancy automatically becomes a periodic tenancy, meaning it continues on a rolling basis as per however long rental payments cover (eg monthly), while landlords can only evict by serving notice and then getting a possession order.

Periodic assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs)

Periodic tenancies run on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis with no fixed end date.

A landlord must usually give notice to quit to a tenant, and must do this in a certain way depending on the type of tenancy agreement and its terms. If tenants don't leave at the end of the notice period, landlords must apply to the court for a possession order, which gives them the right to evict tenants and take possession of the property.

If the court grants a possession order and tenants still don't leave, landlords must apply for a warrant for eviction - meaning bailiffs can remove tenants from the property. A possession order won't take effect until tenants have been living in the property for at least six months.

Rules for fixed-term ASTs

Fixed-term tenancies run for a set amount of time, and landlords must give notice in a certain way for tenants with fixed-term tenancies. If tenants refuse to leave at the end of the notice period, the rules depend on whether the fixed term has ended or not. 

During the fixed term, landlords can only evict tenants for certain reasons, such as not paying rent or anti-social behaviour, and there's a break clause in the contract, allowing a landlord to take back the property before the end of the fixed term. 

Rules for excluded tenancies or licenses

For an excluded tenancy or licence (eg tenants live with the landlord), landlords don't have to go to court to evict tenants, but only to give 'reasonable notice' to quit. The notice doesn't have to be in writing. 

There are no set rules about what's reasonable. It depends on: 

  • how long tenants have been living there
  • how often tenants pay the rent
  • whether tenants get on with their landlord
  • how quickly the landlord needs another person to move in

Landlords can then change the locks on tenants' rooms, even if they have left their belongings there. However, landlords must give these belongings back to tenants. 

If tenants feel they were not given enough warning to leave, contact us for advice; we can take action if landlords evict tenants illegally. Shelter also has information about eviction of excluded occupiers

Rules for assured and regulated tenancies

A tenancy which started before 27 February 1997 might well be an assured or regulated tenancy, and landlords must follow different rules to evict tenants, while tenants also have increased protection from eviction. Shelter has more information about assured tenancies and regulated tenancies. 

Evictions

At the end of a fixed term tenancy, landlords don't need a reason to evict tenants - as long as they've given tenants the correct notice, they can apply to a court for a possession order. 

If the court grants a possession order and tenants still don't leave, landlords must apply for a warrant for eviction - meaning bailiffs can remove tenants from the property. 

Under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, landlords can only evict tenants with a court order, and even then tenants have the right to stay until the landlord gets a bailiff's warrant.

Landlords must follow strict procedures if they want tenants to leave their property, depending on the  type of tenancy agreement in place and its terms.

If they don't, they may be guilty of illegally evicting or harassing tenants. 

We will assess whether we have a duty to house someone by using statutory tests including proof of a local connection to the area, and residency of up to three years. If we conclude we do not have a duty to house someone, the following takes place:

  • where the applicant is not capable of independent living they are referred to Adult Social Care services
  • where the applicant has children but is ineligible for housing due to immigration status, they are referred to Children and Young People's services

Please bear in mind that all councils in London have long waiting lists made up of thousands of households, many in high housing need.

All other housing options are also explored, including London-wide and east London sub-regional schemes. This can involve applying to the Council's housing register waiting list and bidding for properties through the east London sub-regional Choice-Based Lettings system, and similar schemes, based upon the unique circumstances of each individual.

However, tenants should be aware that if they decide to stay in the property they may be liable to be charged court costs.

Housing advice and homelessness

Our housing advice and options service is the first stop for tenants with a housing problem. Because of the shortage of housing in Hackney, we cannot offer a house to everyone who has a housing problem but we can work with you to see if we can find you an alternative solution.

Page updated: 11/02/2016 10:20:28