Landlord Tips: How To Evict A Tenant

Whatever your reasons for evicting a tenant it’s really important to make sure you understand the regulations, and go about the eviction process in the right way. The legal requirements on how to evict a client have been designed to make sure the processes are fair for both you the landlord, and your tenants.

Our landlord tips below explain the three necessary steps to eviction. Depending on how compliant your tenants are, you won’t necessarily need to take all these steps. We’ve included how to evict a tenant without going to court, how to serve notice of eviction, and how to seek the help of a tenant eviction service.

Step One – serving eviction notices

In England there are two main types of eviction. Each of these is subject to different regulations and legal processes. The type of eviction, and whether you need to go to court or not will depend on whether or not your tenant has broken the terms of your rental agreement. If the rental agreement has been broken, you can use a Section Eight seeking possession order. If the tenant has not broken the rental agreement, you may be able to issue a Section 21 notice. We have some more detail on Section Eight and Section 21 notices below.

how to evict a tenant

Section Eight seeking possession orders

You can only issue a Section Eight seeking possession order if the terms of your rental agreement have been broken. The most common example of this is your tenant not paying rent but there are others.

If your tenant has rent arrears, you might like to consider trying to reach a repayment agreement at the same time as serving an eviction order. You might not need to use the eviction order if your tenant sticks to the repayment agreement but it will save you time later on if you have already issued it. For the sake of both parties, it’s important that this type of agreement is put in writing.

Outside the timespan adjustments for Coronavirus, Section Eight orders require between two weeks and two months notice before you expect your tenant to leave. The exact amount of time will depend on the reason for eviction. We have given a few examples below.

  • Upon the death of a tenant – 2 months notice
  • For persistent late payment of rent – 2 weeks notice
  • If a tenant has deteriorated your property – 2 weeks notice
  • In the case of serious rent arrears – 2 weeks notice

When you issue a Section Eight notice, you need to be sure that you give the right amount of notice, state the date after which court action can start, and then explain the reason you believe the terms of the rental agreement have been broken (this is called grounds for possession). If you don’t make sure your tenant has this information, you will be unable to request a possession order if your tenant refuses to leave.

How to evict a tenant – Section 21 or ‘no-fault’ notices

If your tenant hasn’t broken the rental agreement, you can issue a no-fault or Section 21 possession notice but only under certain circumstances.

  • If the fixed-term tenancy agreement has come to an end
  • If you have agreed a ‘periodic’ tenancy with no fixed end date
  • If your tenancy agreement includes an agreed break clause
  • If you are not serving notice during the first four months of a tenancy
  • If you gave your tenant the required safety and rental information at the start of the tenancy

Section 21 notices can be served either when the term of your tenancy agreement has expired or during the tenancy. Under a Section 21 notice, you do not have to give your tenant a reason for requiring possession.

If you failed to give your tenant certain required safety and rental information, for example a gas safety certificate, as required at the start of and throughout the tenancy, you will not be able to issue a Section 21 notice. This also applies if you have not protected your tenant’s deposit through a required scheme, and within relevant time limits.

Outside the timespan adjustments for Coronavirus, Section 21 evictions require a two-month notice period. It’s important to get the two months notice and the date to vacate correct if you want a smooth transit through the courts.

Serving notice on your tenant is the first step in the eviction process. Usually this will result in your tenant leaving as required but if they refuse to leave, and you have followed correct procedures, you can move on to step two.

eviction process

Step two – obtaining a court order for possession

If your tenant leaves by or on the date requested on the eviction notice, you won’t need to take court action. However, if you have followed correct procedure, and your tenant refuses to leave by the date specified, you can seek a possession order.

There are two main ways of doing this. If you want to claim rent arrears from a tenant not paying the rent, you will need to issue the possession proceedings via the courts. If you issued a Section 21 eviction, and are not claiming rent arrears, you may be able to speed the process up with lower-cost accelerated possession proceedings. Accelerated possession orders do not usually require a court hearing.

If you issued either a Section Eight or a Section 21 notice, you have one year to start court action. After that time, if you have not done so, you will need to issue a new eviction notice before you can obtain an order for possession.

Obtaining a possession order is the second step in the eviction process. If your tenant continues to refuse to leave, and you have followed the correct procedures, you can move on to step three on how to evict a tenant.

Step three – eviction by bailiff

If your tenant is still occupying your property on the date specified on the possession order, you can apply for a warrant of possession. You can do this up to six years after the possession order has been made.

At this point the court will send your tenant its own notice of eviction. This is the stage at which tenants can be evicted by a court bailiff. The bailiff system is stretched so it may take longer than you expect to obtain a date for eviction. To speed the process up you can pay a fee to transfer your case to the High Court, and apply for a High Court bailiff.

As a landlord, you can’t carry out your own evictions, and your court bailiff will not be able to collect rent arrears.

how to evict a tenant

Getting help with the eviction process

Working out how to evict a tenant can be a complicated business. Once you’ve understood the eviction process, you might find the options easier to negotiate if you employ the services of a tenant eviction service. These teams of eviction experts understand all the ins and outs of the eviction process. As well as answering your questions about how to evict a tenant, they are well qualified to take the process off your hands completely.

As a landlord, it is possible for you to direct evictions from your properties in a fair and friendly manner, sometimes without involving the courts. However managing the eviction process yourself can be time consuming, and sometimes stressful.

There can be no doubt that the key to successful and happy landlord experiences is access to expert advice. The North West and Central London property market specialists here at Arlington Residential have many years of experience supporting landlords. Get in touch today for friendly and professional help and advice.



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