If you have ever had to deal with tenants – you’ll know that it can be a bit of a minefield.
My advice is always to make sure you’ve got all of the correct paperwork in place before you get started.
There are two pieces of legislation in particular that cover evictions of residential tenants these are section 8 and section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.
Under Section 8 proceedings, the landlord must have proof that either there are rental arrears or that the tenancy agreement has been breached. The breach can be for example, keeping pets at a property where the landlord has explicitly stated in the agreement that this is not allowed. There might be undocumented individuals living at the property or even illegal activity taking place there.
In these circumstances, you must obtain a possession order from the court. In your application you should state the grounds under which you are applying, such as:
- Rental arrears
- Tenancy breach
- Anti-social behaviour at the property
- Damage to property
- False information given by the tenant on the lease
- Property being repossessed by the mortgage provider
You can use a section 21 notice to evict tenants after a fixed term tenancy ends or during a tenancy with no fixed end date.
Under section 21 proceedings, the first piece of advice I would give to landlords is to check that they have fulfilled their statutory obligations:
- Protect the tenant’s deposit in a government scheme and provide the tenant with the prescribed information relating to the deposit (within 30 days)
- Provide EPC, Gas Safety certificate and the current version of the ‘How to rent’ booklet
- Not having received an improvement notice or hazard awareness under the Deregulation Act 2015
It is also essential that you have a signed tenancy agreement and that the tenant has no more than two months remaining before the expiry of the initial term of the tenancy.
In terms of how much notice you should give tenants, under section 8, you are required to give between two weeks and two months’ notice depending on which part of the tenancy agreement has been breached. Under section 21, you should give at least two months’ notice.
If the tenant doesn’t leave the property within the timescales given, you can transfer your case up to the High Court for accelerated possession using section 42. Please note, it is important that you complete the paperwork carefully and accurately.
Evicting tenants can be a real headache for landlords, but if you are clear about your obligations and have followed all of the required steps, it is possible to minimise that headache and ensure your eviction is legally sound.