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Evicting A Tenant

No one wants a troublesome tenant. But if rent does not get paid or damage is done to the property, a landlord can initiate eviction proceedings. Sometimes the tenant might not do anything wrong, but a landlord will still have the right to evict them.

Here’s some advice when a landlord feels they need to evict a tenant.

How to evict a tenant?

There is a legal process to observe when evicting a tenant. Letting a property comes with obligations. Landlords need to be aware of their responsibilities and the rights of tenants. Two methods of eviction are available to landlords – a Section 8 and a Section 21 notice. Strictly speaking, a Section 21 is a ‘notice of possession’, but can still be used if there are grounds for eviction.

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What are the grounds to evict a tenant?

Tenants can be evicted if they are not fulfilling the obligations of their tenancy agreement. This could mean that there are rent arrears, the tenant has damaged the property or there is evidence of anti-social behaviour by the tenant. Other grounds for eviction could be:

    • Subletting without permission
    • Refusal to vacate
    • Evidence of illegal activities taking place at the property
    • Unreasonable requests
    • Operating a business from the property without permission

Can you evict a tenant for no reason?

Yes. A tenant does not have to do anything wrong in order to be evicted. A landlord can issue a Section 21 notice, which does not need a reason to be given for ending the tenancy. This may be because the landlord needs to have possession of the property again because of unforeseen circumstances.

What if your tenant owes rent?

Rent arrears is one of the most common reasons given for an eviction notice. Landlords have a legal right to be paid rent as part of a rental agreement. It is important to have paperwork to prove that a tenant is behind on their rental payments. You should keep a record of when payments were due and evidence to show you have requested payment in writing.

What is the difference between a Section 21 or Section 8 notice?

Section 8 notices can be used to evict a tenant if they have breached the tenancy agreement. Reasons must be given for the eviction notice. Landlords must provide evidence that they have been in contact with the tenant about the issue that has led to the breach. Section 8 notices must be heard in Court.

Section 21 notices are known as ‘no-fault’ evictions because a landlord does not have to give a reason, or blame the tenant in any way. They are often used when a landlord has a legitimate reason for gaining possession. They do not have to be heard in Court, so are usually a quicker way to evict than a Section 8.

How much notice do you have to give a tenant?

If landlords are issuing a Section 8 notice, they must give 28 days legal notice to the tenant before Court proceedings to evict can commence. Section 21 notices can be issued with two months notice, after the fixed term tenancy period has ended.

How long does it take to evict a tenant?

The time it takes for an eviction to take place really depends on the attitude of your tenant and the pace of any Court proceedings. It can take as little as 14 days to evict a tenant; but it can be many months if the tenant is not willing to vacate.

How much does it cost to evict a tenant?

Evicting a tenant can be an expensive business. The full cost will depend on how a tenant responds to the eviction notice. Serving a notice costs around £100. Possessions orders cost £355 to apply for online. Using a County Court Bailiff to enforce the possession order is cheaper than going through the High Court, but is still likely to cost around £400. It is easy to spend over £1,500 to evict a tenant if landlords want it done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

What is a possessions order?

If a Section 8 notice is ignored by a tenant, a possessions order can be applied for by a landlord. This takes 6-8 weeks to be granted. If the notice of a possessions order still does not see the tenant leave, the final step is an application for an eviction date with the County Court.

Differences between using a County Court Bailiff and High Court Enforcement Officer

County Court Bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers are agents employed to recover debts, but they have slightly different powers. County Court Bailiffs have to give the tenant seven days notice to leave the property. Bailiffs can also only enter a property if they are allowed in, and cannot enter properties between 9pm and 6am.

High Court Enforcement Officers are private sector agents authorised by the Ministry of Justice. They are instructed if the rent arrears accrued by the tenant are over £5000. They can arrive at the property unannounced, and can use force if required to gain entry to the property.

What resources are available to help landlords?

A huge number of resources are available to give landlords advice on all aspects of property management, including how to evict a tenant. The National Residential Landlords Association has a comprehensive range of documents, forms and guides, including advice on ending a tenancy.

haart can help

If you have any questions about managing your tenants, or are looking for some additional advice and support, get in contact with our friendly staff at your local branch. Why not also review our dedicated landlord’s hub for more top landlord tips?

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