A landlord may obtain an order for possession of an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) by either issuing a section 21 notice or by issuing a relevant notice pertaining to a Ground under Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988.

  1. The Grounds

The Grounds are divided into 2 categories:

Mandatory Grounds: Schedule 2 Part I

Ground 1: Owner has lived in or wishes to live in the property

Ground 2: Mortgagee requiring possession in order to exercise power of sale

Ground 3: Holiday homes let out of season

Ground 4: Student accommodation let during vacation

Ground 5: Ministers of religion

Ground 6: Demolition, reconstruction or substantial works

Ground 7A: Conviction for certain offences/ breach of injunction etc.

Ground 8: Two months arrears of rent


Discretionary grounds: Schedule 2 Part II

Ground 9: Suitable alternative accommodation is available for the tenant

Ground 10: Some arrears of rent

Ground 11: Persistent delaying in paying rent

Ground 12: Breach of obligation of tenancy

Ground 13: Deterioration of dwelling house or common parts

Ground 14: Nuisance, annoyance, immoral or illegal user

Ground 15: Deterioration of furniture

Ground 16: tenancy resulting from employment of landlord and employment has ceased

Ground 17: tenancy obtained by deception


  1. Section 21 Notice

Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 enables a landlord of an AST to rely on a section 21 noticeto obtain mandatory possession without having to establish any grounds for possession. He merely has to serve a section 21 notice of the Housing Act 1988 in the correct form and without having to establish any fault by the tenant.

A mandatory order for possession can be obtained after the initial 6 months of the tenancy for a periodic tenancy or at the end of a fixed term tenancy, on condition the landlord has not granted a new fixed term that is still in existence. The notice must be in writing and does not have to follow a prescribed form.

Where the tenancy started off as a fixed term tenancy the notice is to be not less than two months and can be given before the expiry of the fixed term. Where the tenancy has always been periodic the notice must require possession after a date which is the last day of a period of the tenancy and the possession date cannot be earlier than two months after the date the notice was given.

The landlord must obtain a court order to lawfully evict a tenant if the tenant has not left the property by the end of the section 21 notice period.

Prohibition of serving a section 21 Notice

A landlord is prohibited to serve a section 21 notice on his tenant when he fails to provide the tenant with the ‘prescribed information’ as set out in section 21A of the Housing Act 1988; or when he fails to adhere to the tenancy deposit scheme as set out under sections 212-215 of the Housing Act 2004.

  1. Security of Tenure DURING a Fixed Period or First 6 Months

A landlord is required to prove a Ground to obtain a possession order during the first 6 months of the original tenancy, or during any longer fixed term.

  1. Security of Tenure AFTERa Fixed Period or First 6 Months

A landlord may obtain possession of an AST by serving a Section 21 noticeafter the initial 6-months where 6 months is the fixed term of the tenancy or where the tenancy is a periodic tenancy, or only after the end of a longer fixed term.

  1. Vacant Possession

The court cannot entertain proceedings for possession of a dwelling house let under an AST unless the landlord has served a notice on the tenant. There are three stages involved for a landlord to obtain possession:

  1. Serving a notice

This can be a section 21 Notice or other mandatory grounds specified in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988

  1. 1stApplication to the county court

The court nearest to the property for a Possession Order

For court bailiff to evict the tenant