The landlord and tenant relationship like any other, is built on trust. The landlord relies on the tenant to look after and respect their property. In turn, the tenant expects the landlord to stick to the terms of the tenancy. However, landlords sometimes experience problems with their tenants that eventually lead to them having to issue an eviction notice.
Of course this is not ideal for either sides and things can get heated when eviction is mentioned. So what is the most appropriate procedure to follow in such situations?
It is wise to communicate with the tenant once issues arise. This is to firstly try and resolve them mutually avoiding evictions and legal proceedings. We often advise our clients to write a letter of complaint to their tenant. In many cases, a simple letter is the solution to resolving any issues the landlord experiences. However, if the dispute ends up in court, the Judge will consider all the steps the landlord has taken to try and resolve the matter themselves.
If the tenant does not respond to the letter of complaint the landlord needs to decide which notice will be served on the tenant. The appropriate notice will differ from case to case.
Issuing a notice
Landlords can serve Section 21 or Section 8 Notice on the tenant.
Section 21 notices are issued when the landlord wants their property back after the fixed term tenancy ends. Or during the tenancy if there is no fixed end date (often known as periodic tenancy). Landlords are required to give at least two months notice to their tenant.
There are certain restrictions which prohibit landlords serving Section 21 notices. For example, if it is less than 6 months since the tenancy started or where a tenant’s deposit was not placed in a deposit protection scheme.
Other requirements must be fulfilled, and we recommend seeking the advice of a solicitor before issuing a notice.
In order to serve a Section 8 notice, the landlord will need to show that the tenant has breached one (or more) of the contractual terms. For example, if there are rent arrears or a tenant has been a nuisance to their neighbours.
The notice period can vary and be as short as two weeks.
I have issued a notice but the tenants are still not leaving
If the tenant does not vacate after the served notice, there are steps a landlord can then take.
If tenants don’t vacate before the end of the notice period, the landlord can apply to the court for a Possession Order. This sets out that the tenant must vacate the property within a given timescale. This is the only legal way of physically evicting tenants who refuse to voluntarily leave.
Should the tenant still refuse to vacate, the landlord can apply for a warrant possession. This means the tenant will receive a notice of an appointment with a bailiff with a date they must be evicted from the property by. Arrangements with the bailiff can be made to evict the tenant should they fail to leave.
Claiming rent arrears
The main benefit of using Section 8 notice is that the court can also deal with the rent arrears during the proceedings. But under a Section 21 notice, a landlord will need to issue a small claim should they wish to pursue the arrears which may not always be practical.
Get in touch
Our team of specialist property dispute resolution solicitors can assist and advise at any stage of a dispute, from mediation through to court action and injunctions. For a free consultation call Levi Solicitors on 0800 988 7756 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.