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It’s not very frequent that a tenant serves a notice to quit, but fails to move out on the assigned date. However, it does happen when your accommodation is still being built OR it’s due renovation and the work takes longer than expected OR the current tenants need more time at the property.
This is exactly what happened to Samina, who asked us:
Тhe new house we are moving to isn’t ready yet, but we have already given a written notice to move out and have only got 2 months according to it. The landlord is saying she won’t allow us to stay after the date we gave her. Can we still stay in the house even if she doesn’t want us to ? What can she do to get us out and will there be any consequences ?
Usually, the recourse for tenants to make an arrangement with the landlord to stay an extra month, before they leave. Usually, that’s not a problem with landlords, as it gives them extra time to look for a tenant and carry out detailed vetting procedures to make sure they are the right person. However, that is also not the case with Samina, which brings us to the logical question.
Can you stay in your property past the move out date?
Yes. The notice to quit is a document that proves your intention to move. When the landlord agrees, that intention becomes mutual. However, the tenancy is not automatically terminated when the notice expires. The tenancy only ends when you surrender the keys to the landlord after mutual agreement.
Before that happens, you remain the legal occupier of the property and your rights to privacy and exclusive control over your home remain active. The landlord cannot freely, without your permission to enter the property or to allow others to enter the property.
If you don’t move out, the landlord will likely initiate a procedure to evict you.
The eviction procedure for periodic Assured Shorthold tenancies
Very few types of tenants, deprecated since 1989 are protected from eviction. Assured Shorthold tenancies are the predominant type of tenancy for modern private tenants. It gives the landlord a right to reclaim back their property, but it requires them to follow the law perfectly and undergo a strict procedure to evict tenants legally. Illegal eviction is a criminal act and landlords need to carefully execute each step to avoid potential backlash. As you might already know, the eviction procedure is not a short one, especially if the tenancy has not broken the terms of the tenancy agreement.
Section 21 eviction notice
The landlord needs to serve you with a Section 21 eviction notice. This notice gives you two months of time to arrange your move and leave. The section 21 is equivalent to the notice to quit which tenants use to end their tenancy. It simply expresses the landlord’s wish to reclaim their property.
However, it’s a legal requirement before the actual eviction starts, so the landlord must start with that. If there is anything wrong with the notice, like a name spelled wrong or a date that’s badly listed, the notice becomes invalid and the landlord must begin from the start – with a new notice and another two months.
There are also cases, when the landlord cannot legally use a section 21 notice, like if they have not protected your deposit property at the start of the tenancy. In this case, not only they can’t serve you with a notice, but you can successfully sue them in court for failing the deposit protection procedure.
When the two months expire and you still haven’t moved out, the landlord will begin the real eviction procedure and serve you with a
Section 8 – notice seeking possession
When you get served with a Section 8 notice of seeking possession, this means that the landlord will be going to court. They will need to make an appointment in the county court and apply for a possession order.
The court will tell them when the hearing is.If the landlord has previously used a Section 21, there will be no hearing, as the eviction will go through the accelerated procedure.
Eventually the landlord will receive the possession order. However, they still cannot evict you. The landlord never gains the right to physically enter your home and remove you from the premises. He must make another appointment, this time with the county court bailiffs and arrange them to evict you, executing the possession order.
You will receive another notice.
Notice of Eviction – county court bailiffs
This notice is the final you’ll receive. In it there will be listed a date, on which the county court bailiffs will visit the property and make sure you and your possessions leave. They will be granted permission by the court to open your door and physically remove you from the property.
The must not use force or violence, but they will certainly have you leave the place, after which the eviction will be complete.
In total, a full eviction can take upwards of six months and more. You have a right to dispute and challenge your eviction on each step of the way, usually immediately after you receive each notice.
Tenant reference is a process that most tenants undergo before they rent a property. To secure their investments, landlords require their potential tenants to undergo detailed vetting which includes:
- Checking their identity
- Checking their income and confirming they are stable paying tenants
- Doing a credit history report for the last 5 years
- Doing a criminal check
- Requesting a reference from the past landlord
Some tenant referencing services deliver even more information, but almost all of them require the tenant to provide a reference from the past landlord.
Giving a reference (and a good one at that) for their past tenants is an option for landlords, not a requirement. So, if you give them a hell of a time, making them do the full eviction procedure, after initially serving a notice to quit, you can expect them being a little hard to agree. And without a good reference, your renting options will be quite limited.
If your new landlord requires a landlord reference, you must definitely make sure your relationship with the landlord is peaceful to say the least.
How to negotiate
It all comes down to this:
- You don’t want to move out earlier because you need to arrange an intermediate accommodation while your new home gets ready.
- Your landlord doesn’t want to let you live inside the property any longer than the notice period.
- You don’t want to force your landlord to evict you because that will likely cause you troubles ahead in future renting agreement.
The way to negotiate is to offer them a deal that will make sense in a business context. Landlords are businessmen and often a good business solution will overcome personal feelings.
Since you probably just need an extra month, try to arrange with them an extension for the period you need and offer a more generous deposit contribution towards repairs and cleaning.
If you can try to find them a tenant who is willing to move in right after you move out. That way the landlord will secure a tenant in the property and avoid empty months, which is something every landlord desperately tries to mitigate.
That should predispose them better to allowing you an extended stay and it will mitigate from either side going at the extreme.
If that fails, you can choose a more aggressive approach and remind your landlord of how lengthy and troublesome a full blown eviction can be. The Tenants’ Voice cannot recommend extortion, but we also understand that sometimes people just can’t reason with each other.
This article is provided as a guide. The Tenants’ Voice is NOT a legal advice specialist site and our content authors are NOT housing law specialists.
The Tenants’ Voice advises tenants to act courteously and reasonably in all communications and dealings with regard to their tenancy. If you suspect an infringement of your rights then seek advice and support from a regulated professional. The Tenants’ Voice recommends Shelter https://www.shelter.org.uk/ 0808 800 4444
This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. The Tenants' Voice does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.
We advise all tenants to act respectfully with their landlords and letting agents and seek a peaceful resolution to problems with their rented property. For more information, explore the articles in our Eviction category.
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