Evicting tenants can be a complex and stressful process.  This might be because they are behind on rent payments, are causing a nuisance or simply because, as landlord, you want the property back to live in or sell. Whatever the reason, you should follow the necessary procedure.

Below are things you should consider if things do go wrong:-

1. If you wish to seek possession of a residential property then the correct notice must be served in accordance with the provisions of the Housing Act 1988. If you want the property back after a fixed term ends, then you should serve the tenants with notice under the provisions of s.21 of the Act. If the tenants have broken the terms of
a tenancy agreement then notice under s.8 of the Act should be served. There are a number of conditions that must be complied with in order for either notice to be valid and we would, therefore, recommend obtaining advice before serving any such notices. Ensuring that the correct notice has been validly served will avoid incurring unnecessary costs later on.

2. If your tenants do not leave by the specified date you can apply for a standard Possession Order.  The Court fee for issuing such a claim is £355.00. If they don’t owe unpaid rent, you can speed this up by applying for an Accelerated Possession Order, the Court fee for which is also £355.00.

The desired outcome of either application will be to obtain a possession order, requiring the tenant to vacate the property. The Court will usually provide the tenant with 14 days in which to vacate, however, the tenant can make an application to the Court to extend this time period.

3. If this still doesn’t work and your tenants refuse to leave, then you can apply for a Warrant of Possession. The Court fee for obtaining such a Warrant is £121. Here, the tenants are sent an eviction notice which specifies a date by which they must vacate the property. If they do not vacate the property, then they will be evicted by the County Court Bailiffs.

4. If a tenant leaves personal possessions in the property after you have successfully evicted them, you should not throw them away. If the property has value the tenant can make a claim against you. You should contact the ex-tenant and advise them of where their property is and what it is you possess. You should then give them a reasonable period in which to collect it, after which you will dispose of the property.

5. Finally, a landlord may be able to claim back unpaid rent if the tenant is claiming Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. If this is the only reason you are evicting the tenant, then arrangements can be made to have the money paid direct to you, under ‘managed payments’, and the tenant can remain living in your property.

Needless to say, legal advice is paramount at each stage to ensure you are protecting your rights and also acting in accordance with the law.

For more information, please contact us.

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