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As we know, section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 outlines what steps a Landlord can take in order to regain possession of his property. My question is in relation of the rights of the tenant being asked to leave the property.

For context, myself and everyone else living in my building are being asked to leave so that the landlord can refurbish the property. This doesn't affect me greatly as living here was always a temporary solution, however over families have settled down here and made it their home.

My questions are as follows:

  1. Giving notice - Under second 21 of the Housing Act 1988, the Landord is required to give the tenant at least two months notice to vacate the property, and the end date of the notice must land on the expiry date of the rental period. If the tenant finds a new place to live before the end of the two months' notice and wishes to leave early, is the tenant required to fulfil their regular duty of giving the usual one month's notice that they are leaving or does that no longer apply in this scenario?
  2. Rent Refunds - Continuing on from the question above, if the tenant wishes to leave early and moves out of the property half way through their rental period, can the tenant claim a refund on the rent already paid which reflects the time between when they left the property and when the rental period would expire?
  3. Appealing the notice - If the tenant is not in a strong enough financial position to put together enough money for the deposit for their next home, or have simply been unsuccessful in finding a property which is suitable based on their current income, what course of action should they take?
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If the tenant finds a new place to live before the end of the two months' notice and wishes to leave early, is the tenant required to [give] one month's notice that they are leaving?

No, the tenant is not required to give notice if they has already received notice from the landlord.

In addition, the tenant is required to pay rent up to the end of the notice period, even if they move out sooner (for now; but see also below). If they don't move out, they must still pay the rent.

If the tenant...moves out of the property half way through their rental period, can the tenant claim a refund on the rent already paid which reflects the time between when they left the property and when the rental period would expire?

For a tenancy which started before 1 October 2015, there is no automatic right to a refund. The tenant can of course ask the landlord for one, though the landlord would only be obliged to refund rent if a new tenant moves in before the end of that period.

For tenancies made after 1 October 2015, s35 of the Deregulation Act 2015 amends s21 of the Housing Act 1988 to allow the 2 months' notice to end on any day (after the end of a fixed term), not just the end of a rental period. s40 then adds a new section which requires the landlord to repay any rent applying during that final period, but after the tenant moves out.

If the tenant is not in a strong enough financial position to put together enough money for the deposit for their next home, or have simply been unsuccessful in finding a property which is suitable based on their current income, what course of action should they take?

Firstly, the date specified in a s21 notice is not the date by which the tenant must move out -- even though, in practice, this is how it is normally treated.

Instead, it is earliest date on which the landlord can begin legal proceedings. So, after that date, there is likely to be a delay until the case can appear before a court. The judge has some discretion as to when the tenancy will actually end, so you can ask for a little more time -- but note that the only way to prevent an eviction under s21 is to show that the landlord failed to follow the correct procedure.

See also Shelter's comprehensive guide on the subject for more details.

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