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Evicting a Tenant

Tue 01 Aug 2017

Evicting a tenant

Before you consider evicting a tenant, you need to confirm they have breached the tenancy agreement. There are several grounds for eviction – some are mandatory and some are discretionary. Evicting a tenant, in our view, requires professional support and help, trying to do this as a ‘DIY job’ can mean lengthening the time it takes and/or even breaking the law.

Mandatory reasons

These include non-payment of rent and, as long as you have the evidence to support your claim, the court should find in your favour.

Discretionary reasons

In these cases, which include late rent payments and causing damage to the property, the court makes its decision based on the evidence provided which is why having disputes and problems put in writing from the start makes it easier for you to secure possession of your property.

Grounds for eviction

These are some – but not all – grounds for eviction.

Mandatory grounds for eviction

Non-payment of rent

 

Discretionary grounds for eviction

Illegal sub-letting

Damage by tenant, malicious or otherwise

Nuisance

Refusing access to the property

Criminal activity

Persistently late payment of rent

Non-disposal of waste

Serving a notice

We can recommend a legal company to carry out any legal work and if you have the right insurance, they will take action on your behalf.

If you are self-managing however, you begin proceedings by serving a Section 8 or a Section 21 notice – in some circumstances, you can serve both at the same time.

Sometimes simply serving the notice can be enough to persuade the tenant to act. They may decide to leave, or pay any owed rent, or for damage caused, in which case you may choose not to act on the notice. By serving the notice, it means you can apply to the court immediately, if the tenant goes back on any agreement.  

Serving a notice has to be done very precisely, as even the smallest error can cause the court to reject the case, so you have to start from the beginning, which costs time and money. If you need to service a notice, you are strongly advised to use a professional service, who will ensure it is done accurately and legally.  

With our Fully Managed Service coupled with a warranty we will serve any necessary notices on your behalf, so you can rest assured they will be prepared by experienced professionals.

Section 8 notice

You serve a Section 8 notice if the tenant has breached the tenancy agreement.
The notice should include the grounds for seeking possession, such as non-payment of rent, causing damage to the property or being a nuisance to the neighbours, along with evidence. It should also give the tenant a leaving date, at least two weeks after the date of the notice.

Section 21 notice

If the tenant has done nothing wrong, but you simply want your property back, you can serve a Section 21 notice, and do not have to provide a reason.

You cannot do this before the end of the tenancy or break period and you must give the tenant at least two months’ notice to leave.

The Section 21 notice may not be valid if you have not protected the tenant’s deposit in a government-approved scheme, or if you have not responded to reasonable requests for repairs and they have reported you to the local authority.

Applying for a Possession Order

Serving a notice is often enough to make a tenant pay up or leave but if they don’t take the required action by the date set, you can arrange a court hearing to obtain a Possession Order.  It can take up to 10 weeks before your case is heard, which is why it is so important not to allow problems to continue unchecked.
If the court grants a Possession Order, they will order the tenant to leave the property by a certain date, usually 14 days later.

Enforcement

Most tenants will leave after being served with a court order but occasionally further action will be required.

If your tenant doesn’t leave by the date set out on the Possession Order, either you or your letting agent can go to court, or you can arrange for a bailiff to visit the property to remove the tenant.

If you send a bailiff, you will need to attend the property, with a locksmith, on the day of the eviction so that locks can be changed immediately.

Rent recovery

By renting through Hunters using our Fully Managed Service and if you have taken out the appropriate insurance, your rent will be protected and you should not be out of pocket.
If you do wish to pursue any outstanding arrears, you should weigh up the cost of recovering the outstanding debt against its size, as it may not make financial sense to proceed.