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Legal rights to stay in private rented accommodation

If you have been asked to leave your home you should always get advice. We can check whether you have a legal right to stay in your current property. You don't have to leave just because you've been told to.

If a landlord wants to evict you from your home, the law states that they must follow the correct legal procedure. If you are to be evicted from private rented accommodation you are entitled to some form of notice before you leave the property. Usually, you will be entitled to remain in occupation until the landlord has obtained a possession order from the county court. This then has to be enforced by a court bailiff.

However, the amount of protection you will have depends on the type of tenancy or licence agreement which you hold. It may also depend on when the letting agreement began.

If your landlord wants you to leave, the notice requesting you to leave must be given to you in a special written form. You will probably receive either a notice to quit or a notice seeking possession.

The length of the notice period will depend on a number of factors including:

  • When the tenancy began
  • The type of tenancy or licence which you hold
  • The reason why the landlord wants the property back

 The period of notice can vary from two weeks to two months. However, at the end of the notice period, the landlord must then go to court to obtain a possession order. This is if the occupier does not wish to leave voluntarily.

If you have a resident landlord and you share your essential living accommodation with the landlord or a member of the landlord's family, special rules may apply and the landlord may not be required to go to court to evict the tenant.

In some circumstances, your landlord may only be required to give the occupier reasonable notice and after the notice period has ended the landlord may be able to carry out a peaceful eviction. If you have a resident landlord you should always get advice on your tenancy rights.

It is a criminal offence for a landlord or an agent to unlawfully evict a residential occupier. Offenders can face fines or even imprisonment. We may prosecute offending landlords depending on the quality of the evidence.

For more information you can also view the landlord and tenants rights and responsibilities in the private rented sector.

Housing advice

020 8863 5611 (out of hours)

Telephone: 020 8424 1093