Possession & Eviction Proceeding – Residential Tenancies
Residential Tenancies in England & Wales are by default Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST) which means they are governed by the Housing Acts 1988, 1996 and 2004 plus the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.
Tenants have protection from eviction (security of tenure) for a minimum period of 6 months.
If the fixed term is for longer than six months, for example 12 months, then tenants have a right to stay in the property for the whole of the term – the landlord cannot re-possess the property during the tenancy term by evicting the tenants, except under exceptional circumstances.
Tenants can only be evicted during the fixed-term if the landlord can prove in the county court, using one of the 17 grounds for possession, that the tenant has breached the terms of the agreement – is in breach of these specific statutory rules.
The landlord can also seek possession at the end of the fixed-term (after the last day of the tenancy period) by serving a valid 2-month section 21 notice.
If the tenants refuse to leave having been correctly served with the relevant notice the landlord must use the court possession procedure and if necessary the court bailiff to physically evict. The whole process can take several months.