Tenancy and notice

Your tenancy

Your rights are affected by the type of tenancy you have. Most private renters have an assured shorthold tenancy. If you’re not sure which type of tenancy you have, use Shelter’s online checker

At the start of any new tenancy you should be provided with the following documents from your landlord/letting agents:

If you have not received a valid EPC at the start of your tenancy, your EPC is more than 10 years old or it is a rating of an F or G then you can make a complaint to the private sector housing team.

You can check the EPC for your property on the government website.

You should also be provided with records that electrical inspections and any smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. 

If your landlord/letting agent has failed to provide any of these documents they will be unable to serve a valid Section 21 notice to quit on a tenant who serves a periodic tenancy.


It's a criminal offence for your landlord to evict you without following the correct legal steps for eviction.

Most private rented tenants have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. If your landlord wants to bring the arrangements to an end, they need to serve you with proper notice and then go to court to evict you if you have not been able to move out sooner.

To end an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, the landlord must serve you with a valid Section 21 notice and/or a Section 8 notice.  Your landlord does not need to give a reason for evicting you if they serve a Section 21 notice, but they must give at least two months’ notice. When the notice period ends, they can start the court procedure to have you evicted – you do not have to move on the day the notice expires.

Unless the landlord serves a valid notice, applies to court for possession, and then gets a bailiff’s warrant, they cannot insist that you move.

Illegal eviction and harassment

The landlord has no right to put pressure on you. It's illegal to change the locks without a formal eviction having taken place. It's also illegal to interfere with your belongings, cut off essential supplies such as electricity or water, or harass you in any similar way. Your landlord will probably be committing an offence if they;

  • change the locks whilst you're out
  • threatens you if you do not leave
  • physically throws you out
  • stops you getting into certain parts of your home

It is also illegal for your landlord, letting agent or someone on their behalf to harass you.

You should contact our Housing Options Team on 01474 337466. We may look to assist you by negotiating with your landlord to try to get you back into your home or  by prosecuting your landlord for illegal eviction.

You should call the police if you're being illegally evicted by a private landlord and your landlord is violent or threatens violence.  Call 999 if a crime is happening now or someone is in immediate danger.

Retaliatory eviction

Some landlords may take steps to evict tenants who complain about repairs or poor conditions. This is known as a retaliatory eviction.

You may have some protection against revenge eviction if you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. Read information from Shelter about retaliation eviction.