Time Limits For Serving And Using A Section 21

When can section 21 be served?

The service of a section 21 notice under an assured shorthold tenancy differs if the tenancy is the original or renewal.

From 2018, the changes made by section 36 of the Deregulation Act 2015 apply to all assured shorthold tenancies in England.

Original tenancy

For the first original tenancy, section 21 cannot be served within the first four months of the tenancy.


For a replacement tenancy (a renewal between the same landlord and tenant for substantially the same premises), section 21 can be served if it is greater than four months from the first tenancy when the tenants originally moved in. The renewal is effectively ignored, and the landlord must look back to the first tenancy to count the four months.

When must section 21 be enforced (use it or lose it)?

For a rental up to two months (calendar monthly, weekly, four weekly or two monthly rent), court proceedings for possession may not be begun after the end of six months from the date on which the notice was given. If the notice was required to be greater than two months under 21(4)(b) (where the rent is quarterly or six monthly, for example), proceedings for possession must not be begun after the end of four months from the date given in the notice for expiry(the date possession is required under the notice).

View Related Handbook Page

Landlord Wants Tenant to Leave

A tenancy of someone's home, starting on or after 28 February 1997, will in most cases be an assured shorthold tenancy. Take advice early if there are any doubts about what type of tenancy is being terminated. The procedures for ending a tenancy are different, depending on the type of tenancy.