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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7609
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Hi! If a tenant gave 1 month notice 2 months ago, but still

Customer Question

Hi! If a tenant gave 1 month notice 2 months ago, but still won't move out, and has not been paying the rent on time or in its entirety, how should I approach removing them from the property? CAn I change the locks?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 7 years ago.

Hi Clairwiseman,


Thanks for your question.


Are your tenants occupying the property under an assured shorthold tenancy?


Has the fixed term of the tenancy agreement expired yet?


Kind regards,



Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Hi Tom


The fixed term of the tenancy expired in December 2009. They needed to give me one months notice, which they did jointly on 11th January 2010. The remaining tenant wanted to continue with the tenancy, but I said that I would only consider this if they paid in full on time, and they have failedto do that.


Anything else you need from me, please advise!



Expert:  Thomas replied 7 years ago.

Hi Claire,


I assume that the tenancy was an assured shorthold tenancy (it will be unless you served a notice on the tenants at the start of the tenancy stating that it was not to be an AST). The tenants are now occupying the property under a statutory periodic tenanct.


Firstly you cannot change the locks; they have a right to occupy the property until the tenancy is terminated.

As the term of the tenancy has expired you can serve a s21 Housing Act 1988 notice on the tenants (both are still technically tenants) requiring possession of the property. You must give two months notice of this and the notice must expire on the last day of a tenancy period (eg. last day of the month).


Your second option is to serve a notice stating one of the permitted grounds. If the tenant is two months in arrears of rent (and the rent is payable monthly) then you can serve a s21 Ground 8 Housing Act 1988 notice requiring possesion. If they are not two month in arrears then you can serve a s21 Ground 11 Housing Act 1988 notice on them for persistently paying rent late (if they have done so). The period for these notice is only two weeks so it is a lot quicker than the notice in the paragraph above.


It is very important that the notice you serve is in the correct form, otherwise you will have to start the process again. You can download notice from


If the notice period expires and the tenants have still not left then you will have to make an application to Court for an Order for possession.

In order to recover the outstanding arrers after they have vacated you should intially write a letter before action to her with respect to the outstanding rent. State the money outstanding to her, refer to your tenancy agreement and ask that she pay the amount outstanding within a reasonable time (eg. 14 days).

If this does not result in her pay the outstanding rent arrears to you then You can recover the money owed in arrears of rent yourself by using HMCS's online service

It's pretty cheap and very straightforward to use.

If this has been useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my time. It will be gratefully received and you will be free to ask follow up questions.

Kind regards,


Thomas and other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hi again! The forms won't let me select s21 ground 11. It will let me select s8 ground 11, but your previous response suggests that as the fixed term ended, it's a periodic term. Sorry if I'm being dumb here, but I thought I'd check back with you.
Expert:  Thomas replied 7 years ago.



My mistake, it is the s8 notice that you will require if the tenancy has run past the fixed term. s8 Ground 11 if the tenant has persistently paid rent late, s8 ground 8 if the tenant is two months in arrears.


Sorry again, I think I cited s21 in error having correctly advised you to serve s21 notice if you did not wish to cite a ground for possession.