Tenant Eviction: 3 Things To Do When Your Tenant Refuses To Vacate

Are you having trouble evicting your tenant from your property? It can be quite worrying when your tenant refuses to surrender the property thereby forcing you through the eviction procedure. As a landlord, you need to be aware of your tenant’s rights and the procedures you must adhere to if you are to successfully evict them when they refuse to leave.

It’s therefore a good idea to contact someone who specialises in legal services for landlords to source the right advice and/or engage them to progress on your behalf.  You must remember that you are effectively removing someone from their home. This is the view the courts will take no matter how poor the tenant’s conduct may be.  Research carefully the requirements for successful enforcement as even minor procedural or drafting errors may undermine your chances for securing the desired outcome.  This will serve to increase your stress levels and the time you have to personally invest to, what will surely be, a difficult relationship with your tenant.

Contact The Guarantor

The first step to bringing a tenancy to an end is to inform the tenant.  You may want to do so on a casual basis, but it’s a strong recommendation that it is done through serving a formal notice seeking possession such as a section 8 notice and/or a section 21 notice.  The reason for the latterly referred to notices being that it is a mandatory requirement to have served a valid notice seeking possession should you need to progress enforcement by way of the county court.

If your tenant has a guarantor then it may be useful to bring the notice seeking possession to their attention as well. The guarantor could potentially be liable for any money judgment which is entered against the tenant.,  It is therefore in their interest to ensure that does not happen.  They may be able to guide the tenant in such a way that encourages them to surrender the tenancy rather than forcing the landlord through the eviction procedure.

a landlord and tenants discussing eviction

Claim Possession Of Property Through Section 8 and Section 21 Of The Housing Act.

If the accumulation of monthly rental payment shortfalls reaches a sum equivalent to two months’ rent then a section 8 notice should be considered a minimum.  The ground for possession which covers rent arrears in excess of two month’s rent offer the tenant two weeks to address the address or to surrender the tenancy.  If they fail to pay or surrender the property then eviction proceedings can be progressed by way of the county court.  This a litigious procedure and therefore should only be considered as a last resort as there are financial consequences to both landlord and tenant if one or other loses the case.  Clearly, a landlord should not do nothing when a tenant refuses to meet their rental obligations each month.  Under the Housing Act, a tenant can remain in the property until a court authorised bailiff enforces an order for possession.  Whilst it may seem unpalatable to evict your tenant because of the time frame and cost, such activity may turn out to be the only option available to you to remedy the situation and prevent your rental losses accumulating each month.   If you fail to act then it is highly likely that the losses you suffer will accelerate to a sum far in excess of the costs of enforcement and the eviction procedure.

An alternative notice seeking possession you can consider is a section 21 notice. This informs your tenant that you want them to surrender the tenancy by a certain date.  It does not detail any breach of the tenancy.  For this reason, a tenant is given much more time to find alternative accommodation. As you can appreciate, there are good number of rules which must be adhered to when serving a section 21 notice, which allow for successful enforcement through the county court.  The main three are;

  • that it is not served in the first 4 months of the tenancy.
  • that formal enforcement cannot be progressed during the fixed term.
  • the time frame from the date of deemed service to enforcement is a minimum of two months (subject to any Statute which varies the time frame)  .

However, this route will only achieve the desired outcome if the tenancy paperwork and landlord’s conduct are to the required standard.  This is a high bar so do not be complacent.  Just one example, is that if you have failed to protect your tenant’s deposit then a Judge will decline to enter a judgment in your favour.

If you aren’t sure which way to go to bring a tenancy to an end then speak with a team of property experts who specialise in tenant eviction services.  Firms which offer free advice are out there if you look for them and can help to keep your costs to a minimum.

Go To Court

If your tenant refuses to surrender the property and offer vacant possession after serving a section 8 notice and/or a section 21 notice then you may file formal recovery proceedings with the county court under whose jurisdiction the property falls, but only once the minimum time frame set out in the notice has elapsed.

It is essential that you maintain a good tenancy file as evidence will need to be filed in support of the claim.  If a claim is defended then the quality of your tenancy file may turn out to be the difference between winning and losing your case.

If the court enters a judgment for possession in your favor then they will inform the tenant of the date they must leave the property but which may also include a money judgment for arrears and costs. In situations where a tenant fails to act on the judgment then a bailiff must be instructed to secure possession but can also pursue the money judgment on your behalf.  Judgments last for 6 years.

If you are looking for a team of plain talking, trustworthy professionals to handle the eviction of your tenant, then contact Landlord Assist. They offer effective and low cost tenant eviction services and landlord legal services UK throughout London and Kent.

If you need help to issue Section 21 notice and/or a Section 8 notice, then get in touch with Landlord Assist or visit their website for more information on their services for landlords.

Categories: Landlord Services,Tips,Uncategorized

Tags: ,,,,,,

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.