How to evict a tenant03-09-2023 | Property Access
Not a pleasant job for any landlord to do, but sometimes the best solution is eviction.
The new Renters Reform Bill has done away with ‘no fault’ evictions and now landlords must provide ‘justifiable grounds’ for eviction. Under section 21, many landlords had problems with evicting tenants when confronted with anti-social behaviour and non-payment of rent. So the former legislation suited neither side.
Justifiable grounds for eviction according to the new legislation include things like tenants being at least 2 months in arrears (excluding outstanding benefit payments), displays of anti-social or criminal behaviour, or multiple neighbourly complaints. We’ll run you through the correct way to go about evicting your tenants.
You’ll need to follow the legal procedure to make sure you’re dealing with your tenant’s eviction with empathy and within the rules and regulations set out by the government.
Legitimate grounds for evicting your tenants
Granted, the removal of section 21 means you have to provide more explanations behind your reasoning for evicting tenants. Here are a few examples of legitimate ground for evicting tenants
- Not paying rent for more than two months (serious rent arrears)
- Using the property for illegal activity such as drugs, prostitution or gambling
- Displaying anti-social behaviour to the neighbours
- Malicious damage to the property
Before evicting your tenants
Before you even consider evicting your tenants have you been able to do these things listed below?
Communicate with your tenants
You should be aware that before you can take serious action you must prove you have attempted to communicate sufficiently with your tenants. You should first speak with them in person/ or over the phone and then follow this up with an email and then in writing if the behaviour continues.
Make sure you start the exchange on a positive note and explain the implications of their behaviour and the outcome if the behaviour continues.
When it comes to imposing an eviction or starting the process, you’ll need to have evidence of communication that clearly highlights the reasons why you have taken this course of action against your tenants. Having that email chain or WhatsApp group with no response can prove essential if you have to take them to court.
Get the facts right
Hearsay can be an unhelpful thing. Gather as much first-hand evidence as possible from neighbours and your tenants before taking further action. Written statements from neighbours and photographs of damage as well as videos will hold your case in good stead.
Taking videos of your property prior to the assured short term tenancy agreement will help you cross-reference if you discover malicious damage. Make sure you are aware of the difference between wear and tear and intentional damage to the property.
Get your landlord’s insurance in order to protect yourself if your tenants are paying or have caused serious damage to the property.
Steps you can take to evict your tenants
So your tenants have broken the assured shorthold tenancy agreement and it’s time to take action. Here are the avenues you can go down.
Section 21 still allows you to get your property back (only until 2025!)
Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 allows the landlord to reclaim possession of the property at any time after the first four months of the tenancy agreement.
To issue a Section 21 you must have all your health and safety certificates in order as well as follow a set of guidelines outlined by Gov UK.
You are able to issue section 21 after their fixed term tenancy ends or during the tenancy which is called ‘no fault’ eviction.
However, section 21 has come under fire in the Renters Reform Bill , and as a consequence, section 21 will be abolished after October 2025. The bill will also end fixed-term tenancies and move to periodic tenancies, which have no set end date.
Give your tenants Section 8 notice if they’ve broken the terms of the tenancy
Before issuing Section 8 try and offer a rent repayment plan if there are outstanding financial arrears.
Section 8 can be enforced if the tenant has broken the agreement of the tenancy. This can be issued at any time. If your tenant contests the reason you are presenting, you may have to take them to court with evidence.
You will have to give the appropriate amount of notice depending on the reason you are evicting them.
No notice needed:
- A conviction for noise nuisance
- Anti social behaviour
- Criminal behaviour (such as using the property to deal drugs or as a brothel)
Two weeks notice needed:
- Serious rent arrears at time of service of notice and possession proceedings
- No right to rent in the UK
- If in the 12 months prior to the start of the tenancy, the property has been used as purpose-built student housing by an education establishment
- Deterioration of the property (discretionary)
- Breach of tenancy (discretionary)
- Rioting (discretionary)
- Domestic abuse (discretionary)
- Deterioration of furniture
- If the tenancy was granted due to false statements
*discretionary means tenants can dispute your grounds for repossession in court*
One month notice needed:
- The provider requires possession from a non-supported accommodation resident to relet as supported accommodation
- The provider requires possession because support services or funding for supported accommodation has ended or fallen away
- The landlord is ending a tenancy granted as temporary accommodation because the household is owed the homelessness duty
- Persistent arrears
Two months notice needed:
- Landlord wants to move in
- Mortgage repossession
- Selling the property
- Superior landlord lease ending
- Possession by the superior landlord
- The property is used by a minister of religion to perform their duties of office
- If the landlord requires possession to house someone employed by them as an agricultural worker
- The dwelling was let as a result of the tenant’s employment by the landlord, and the employment has come to an end
- The landlord is seeking possession to redevelop (must be at least 6 months after start of tenancy)
- Death of tenant
- Suitable alternative accommodation has become available for the tenant
You’ll have to specify which terms of the tenancy they have broken.
Apply for a warrant for possession if your tenants won’t leave
Your tenants aren’t budging? You can apply to the court for a possession order if the leave date has passed.
As spoken about previously, have your evidence in order with dated documents to make this process as easy as possible.
With the latest Rental Reform Bill in 2023, more authority will be given to local councils and ombudsmen to help negotiate and resolve issues between tenants and landlords.
Creating positive relationships with your local council could be incredibly useful if the worst occurs.
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