How To Evict A Tenant Legally
Updated: Nov 11, 2018
As a Letting Agent one of the questions we get asked the most is “how do I get my tenant out!”
The first question I always a Landlord is “do you have an open line of communication with your tenant to talk through any problems and see if a mutual decision can be made to end the tenancy” most of the time the response is “no” and the landlord is at the end of his tether and wants the nightmare to end.
There are strict procedures to follow if your tenant has no intention of leaving and you wish them to vacate. Depending on the circumstance will depend on the notice you need to serve. A Section 21 notice is used to end a tenancy with no reason needed after the initial fixed term ends. A section 8 notice is if the tenants have broken any of the terms of the tenancy.
On 1st October 2015 the deregulation act came into force. This meant a section 21 notice couldn’t be served unless certain criteria’s or documentation was served to the tenant upon the tenancy start or renewal (if renewed after 1st October 2015)
The below list is a brief overview of the criteria and documentation needed to be carried out or given to the tenants before the commencement of the tenancy:
1. Any deposit taken is to be registered with an authorised scheme within 30 days of receiving the funds – not the beginning of the tenancy! Failure to comply can result in the landlord being fined up to 3 times the deposit amount.
2. The tenants should have been provided with ‘Prescribed Information’ in regards to the tenancy deposit.
3. Retaliatory eviction was introduced as part of the Deregulation Act. This stopped landlords serving notice on tenants who reported property conditions were not adequate enough and the tenant didn’t receive an adequate response on repair work within 14 days.
4. A section 21 can no longer be served until the first 4 months of the initial tenancy has passed.
5. Provide the tenant with the Government Approved “How to rent” guide.
6. A copy of the full EPC.
7. A copy of the valid Gas Safety Certificate.
A clear two months’ notice period must be served for a tenant to vacate, this often catches people out so check and double check the dates. Personally I always serve two months’ notice and add on a week, this is because I send the notices via post and obtain proof of posting via the post office. This proof of posting can be used in court if needs be at a later date to prove when the notice was served if the tenants do not vacate. Some prefer to serve the notice via hand, if you wish to do this I always advise you take an eye witness with you and ask them to take a time and date stamped photo of you serving the notice.
This notice can only be used when the tenants have broken the terms of the Tenancy Agreement, the most usual case for serving a section 8 is alongside a section 10 and 11 when tenants are in rent arrears.
There are 17 grounds on which a landlord can seek possession of a property. Grounds 1-8 are mandatory and 9-7 are discretionary. The more grounds you can prove are broken the stronger the case.
The best thing to do prior to serving any notice is to complete a checklist to ensure you have all the relevant paperwork in place. If you are ever in double please seek professional advice, if a notice is served incorrectly you have to start the lengthy process all over again.
I hope this post has been helpful. If you need any help, please feel free to contact me using the details provided below – I’d love to help you.
0333 772 0718