Factsheet 21 - Section 21 - Notice Requiring Possession of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy

Section 21 Notice Requiring Possession of
an Assured Shorthold Tenancy

(The Housing Act 1988 as amended)

Under the Housing Act 1988, a landlord who has granted an assured shorthold tenancy has a legal right to get his property back at the end of the tenancy. In order to invoke this right, he is required to follow the correct legal procedure which includes service of a notice (under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988) on his tenant. Section 21 is divided into sub-sections with different rules applying to notice served during the fixed term of a tenancy and notice for possession that is served during a periodic tenancy.

Fixed Term Tenancies: 

Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 requires that the landlord provides tenants of an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) with a minimum of two months’ notice in writing that he/she wants possession of the property. Extra days should be added if the notice is to be sent by post as the two month period starts when the tenant receives the notice. The notice must be served before a possession action can be started. In the case of joint landlords the notice can be given by any one of them. Possession under this section cannot take place during the initial six months of the original tenancy. The provisions in section 21(1)(b) apply to fixed term tenancies.

Section 21(1) states:

‘Without prejudice to any right of the landlord under an assured shorthold tenancy to recover possession of the dwelling-house let on the tenancy in accordance with Chapter I above, on or after the coming to an end of an assured shorthold tenancy which was a fixed-term tenancy, a court shall make an order for possession of the dwelling-house if it is satisfied-

a) that the assured shorthold tenancy has come to an end and no further assured tenancy (whether shorthold or not) is for the time being in existence, other than an assured shorthold periodic tenancy(whether statutory or not); and

b) the landlord, or in the case of joint landlords, at least one of them has given to the tenant not less than two months' notice in writing stating that he requires possession of the dwelling-house.’

If notice requiring possession is served on the last day of the tenancy agreement, the tenant does not have to give up possession of the dwelling-house until at least two months after the date that the notice was served.

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