|Should you have any questions concerning evicting a tenant, call our property dispute solicitors on 01225 462871, or email them. Alternatively, please complete the Contact Form at the foot of this page.|
As a residential landlord, you depend upon a steady stream of rental income from your tenant. It can therefore be costly and stressful if your tenant stops paying the rent or becomes disruptive.
However, rectifying the situation is often far from straightforward. Landlord and Tenant law has evolved to protect the rights of tenants. In recent years it has increasingly become a minefield to navigate as new regulations have been introduced which create traps for landlords. Mistakes, even of the most trivial nature, can have costly implications for you.
“I would like to thank you for your expertise and speed [in the recent matter].” HT
The two methods
There are two methods available to landlords to bring an assured shorthold tenancy to an end: the non-fault ground (begun with a section 21 notice) or the fault ground (begun with a section 8 notice). If a tenant fails to vacate the property following expiry of either notice, the landlord must obtain a possession order from the county court.
If the tenant still fails to give up possession in accordance with the order the landlord must instruct the court bailiff to carry out the eviction.
If a landlord fails to adhere to this procedure they could be accused of a criminal offence of unlawful eviction or harassment, plus a civil claim for an injunction and/or damages, and costs. It is therefore vital to have experienced solicitors who are able to guide you through the process.
Section 21 Procedure
A section 21 notice may be used to take back possession of a property at the end of the fixed term. Key points to remember are:
- The notice must provide a date for expiry at least two months ahead;
- The expiry date cannot be earlier than the last day of the fixed term of the tenancy; and
- The procedural steps during the tenancy must have been strictly complied with.
If the ‘accelerated procedure’ is to be used, the tenancy agreement must be in writing.
Throughout 2019 there have been discussions about abolishing section 21 notices. For further information please read our article on the subject. However, as the legislation currently stands, section 21 notices are still the appropriate way to begin the eviction process.
Sometimes the tenant may try to defend the claim, e.g. on the basis that one or more of the procedural steps was not complied with, and/or bring a counter-claim, e.g. for compensation for disrepair, a fine for non protection of the deposit, failure to provide a gas safety record or some other requirement. If this happens, or you believe there is a risk, we can advise you on your options.
“Thank you for your amazing persistence, dedication and kindness toward me during this difficult time.” JD
Section 8 Procedure
A section 8 notice is used to end the tenancy because the tenant has breached its terms or where one or more statutory grounds are met. This notice is most frequently used where the tenant is in arrears with their rent. Key points to remember are:
- If the landlord is relying on a rent arrears ground, the notice has an expiry period of 14 days;
- In most cases, the notice can be served before the expiry of the fixed term;
- In rent arrears cases, if the tenant pays off the arrears the breach will be remedied and there will be no or limited grounds for possession;
- In rent cases, if the tenant is more than 2 months in arrears, the court must make an outright possession order. If the arrears are less than 2 months, a possession order is still possible, but it may be suspended or postponed on terms – typically that the tenant must repay the arrears in instalments.
When a tenant is not in arrears, but you still require your property back due to breaches of the lease or, for example, the tenant has been convicted of a serious criminal offence, there are other statutory grounds that can be relied upon in order to attempt to regain possession.
Inevitably, problems with your tenant affect your stream of income. Therefore, in order to provide you with certainty over legal costs, we offer both the section 21 procedure and section 8 procedure in relation to rent arreas on a transparent fixed cost basis.
This means will know from the outset what the likely costs will be. Should the unexpected happen, we will provide you with a realistic fee estimate before proceeding further.
Should you require the section 8 procedure for a ground other than for rent arrears, the pricing will be assessed on a case by case basis.
“I really am so pleased I finally received some advice that was not only helpful but worked – just wish I had approached you first!” HS
Should you have any questions, please call specialist residential tenancy solicitor, Mike Hansom on 01225 462871, email him or complete the Contact Form at the foot of this page.