This section covers what happens when an assured or an assured shorthold tenancy ends, how the landlord or a tenant can terminate such a tenancy and how to gain lawful possession of the premises. There are some tenancies that are neither assured nor assured shorthold tenancies (for example holiday lets, tenancies where the annual rent is over £100,000, or student tenancies in university accommodation). These are a minority and are dealt with briefly at the end of this section.

Ending a Rent Act tenancy is a complicated matter, and specialist legal advice should be taken before making any decision or taking any action.

Bringing a Rent Act tenancy to an end and evicting the tenant can be a very complex process, and is beyond the scope of this manual. If an application fails or is struck out, the court may order a landlord to pay the tenant’s legal costs in addition to their own. Some guidance is given at the end of this section, which, however, is mainly concerned with assured and assured shorthold tenancies, governed by the Housing Act 1988.

For Housing Act 1988 tenancies, i.e. most tenancies in the private rented sector, there are different methods of bringing possession proceedings depending on whether the contract is an assured or an assured shorthold tenancy. Every case is unique and the following can therefore only be a rough guide.

The information in this chapter about terminating tenancies and eviction is, inevitably, legalistic, but it is worth emphasising that at the end of their agreements most tenants leave their property voluntarily and many landlords experience no problems either moving into a new agreement or getting possession of their property back. This section deals with:

For more information about ending a tenancy please click on any of the links below: 

Practical Tips For a Pain-Free End of Tenancy Handover

What To Do If The Tenancy Is To Continue

What To Do If The Tenant Wants To Leave

What Landlords Can Do If They Want a Tenant To Leave

Powers and Duties of District Judges

Absolute Orders or Suspended (Postponed) Orders

Applying to Court for Possession – Standard Procedure

Applying to Court for Possession – Accelerated Procedure

After the Court Order – And Eviction

Applying to the Court for Rent Arrears Only

Rent Act Tenancies

Contractual or Common Law Tenancies

Assured Tenancies

Unlawful Eviction

Unlawful Harassment


Tenant Moves Out

Retaliatory Evictions

Apportioned Rent


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