Non-payment of rent
This is the most common reason for evicting a tenant. Your first step is to ensure you or your agent talks to the tenant to find out if the problem is short-term or likely to be long-term.
If it’s a long-term problem, and they’ve been a good tenant you’d like to keep, could you help them apply for Housing Benefit or Universal Credit? If this is not an option, a good tenant will do the right thing and look for alternative accommodation.
If they refuse to leave, or if non-payment is only part of the problem, you can begin eviction proceedings once a tenant is two months in arrears. As rent is payable in advance, this means you can begin the eviction process one month and one day after the tenant misses their first rent payment.
Non-payment of rent is mandatory grounds for eviction, which means the tenant will definitely be ordered to leave if you can prove breach of contract. Therefore, keeping accurate records is so important as they will be needed as evidence.
You can take out a warranty to protect you against non-payment of rent, and our Fully Managed Service includes Rent Recovery Plus, which covers your rent in the event of non-payment, as well as legal expenses up to £50,000.
This is where a tenant re-lets the property to another tenant; if they do this without your permission it is a breach of their tenancy agreement.
The problem with sub-letting is that you don’t know who your additional tenants are, so don’t have the opportunity to carry out right to rent checks, referencing, and damage is more likely as many illegal sub-lets are also over-crowded.
As well as periodic checks, which will allow you to see if anything looks amiss, good relationships with the neighbours are vital, as they will be able to report back to you if they see any unusual activity.
Illegal sub-letting is grounds for eviction, but it is discretionary, which means the presiding judge or magistrate will make a decision based on the evidence provided.
Failure to report repairs
It is the tenant’s responsibility to report repairs to their landlord or letting agent, but not all of them do, which is why periodic checks are so important. They allow you or your agent to assess a problem that the tenant might not appreciate is important to sort, such as leaking guttering or a dripping tap. Always keep the communication lines open with your agent or tenant and return any calls made to you by others as if a tenant does report repairs required, they have to be responded to in writing within 14 days.
At Hunters, we find some tenants may feel more comfortable telling you about a problem face to face, which is why our periodic visits are essential to running a successful let.
With our Fully Managed Service, we carry out the property management visits for you, which allows us to stay on top of the maintenance situation and prevents problems from escalating.
Tenant wants to leave early
If a tenant decides to leave a property before the end of the fixed term, this is considered a breach of contract and they are, by law, liable for any outstanding rent payments and bills until the end of the fixed term.
However, if it is for unforeseen reasons, it is possible to come to an agreement with the tenant to let them go early and secure a new tenant in their place, especially if they are in financial difficulties.
“Your property is in safe hands with our Fully Managed Service. We carry out regular property management visits on your behalf, which shows the tenant we care and ensures problems don’t go undetected.” - Gemma Allen, Branch Manager at Hunters Manchester
Refusal of access
You have a right to access the property for periodic checks and maintenance. However:
• You must give the notice required in your tenancy agreement, normally at least 24 hours in writing. It must be at a time which is convenient to the tenant.
It is also sensible to ensure the tenant is present, so you cannot be accused of theft or any other wrongdoing, and to be accompanied by an independent person or letting agent.
If the tenant refuses access:
• Do not enter without their permission, as this could be considered harassment.
• They may lose the right to complain about repairs not being carried out.
• They may not be able to make any personal injury claim resulting from lack of repairs.
• If your inability to access the property to make repairs results in ongoing damage, you may be able to claim damages from the tenant.
• If the tenant continues to refuse access without a valid reason, they are in breach of their tenancy agreement and you can apply for possession of your property. This is a discretionary ground for eviction, so the court will make a decision based on the evidence you provide.
“When a tenant refuses access to the property, it can be a sensitive problem to deal with. This is why we always advise our landlords to get an independent third party such as ourselves to handle the issue for them." - Laura Cooper, Branch Manager, North Yorkshire