Evicting Tenants

When it comes to dealing with difficult tenants, landlords need to be careful. Residential tenants enjoy some protection for what is, after all, usually their home. Under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 a residential tenant can usually only be evicted with a court order. It is also a criminal offence to harass a tenant, and this includes actions like regular visits or deliberately cutting off utilities as well as threatening behaviour. These rules do not usually cover lodgers who can be treated as trespassers once their agreements have expired.

With assured shorthold tenancies There are two relatively simple grounds for an eviction order, These are the valid service of a notice ending the tenancy and non-payment of rent.

Notice to End The Tenancy

The landlord can serve a notice with no justification ending a tenancy after the fixed period (usually six months). The service of notices can be complex and if there is any doubt it may be best to consult a solicitor to draw up and serve it, as it then becomes their responsibility. This is particularly useful if a landlord requires the property for some pressing reason.

Landlords will often make sure that fixed period of an assured shorthold tenancy is only set at the minimum amount of six months to make sure they can regain possession. Then, if a landlord discovers that a tenant is not acceptable after three months, they will simply serve notice to bring the tenancy to an end at the six month period, rather than trying to prove wrongdoing, as this can be complex.

In the vast majority of cases the tenant leaves the property once the notice expires. If the tenant remains in the premises, the landlord will then have to go to court and seek a court order for their eviction. If the notice has been correctly served the court will grant a court order for possession, at which point the bailiffs can go in and evict the tenants. The tenants will still remain liable for outstanding rent and any other breaches of the tenancy, but they may not be worth pursuing.

Non-Payment of Rent

A landlord in England and Wales can issue a Section 8 eviction notice if they want to evict a tenant who is in rent arrears.

A section 8 notice is used for breaches of a tenancy agreement, such as non-payment of rent. Under this notice the landlord is entitled to take possession if the tenant is in arrears of at least two months rent at the date of serving the notice.

A tenant who is subject to this order has to be given at least 14 days notice to leave. The landlord will need to go to court to evict the tenant should they remain in the property after the 14 days has passed.

Antisocial Behaviour

Unfortunately because of difficulties in getting evidence it is exceptionally hard to evict tenants because of antisocial behaviour, although it can be done. Usually, if they can, a landlord will simply end the tenancy or repossess the property because of non-payment of rent.

See also: Rental Search, Letting Agent Directory