This article is lifted from Karens presentation at our first annual insolvency conference.
We understand that for the vast majority of residential lettings there are no problems when it comes to ending the tenancy agreement. It is common across the UK for landlords and tenants to agree to a termination date and for the tenant to move out without encountering any issues.
However, what can a landlord do if the tenant will not vacate the property? What happens if the tenant falls behind on the rent and the landlord wants to evict them? How much will it cost and how long will it take?
These are questions that we are asked on a daily basis and we assist landlords across the country with helping them recover possession of their property when they wish to evict their tenant.
How do I evict my tenant?
If the tenancy in question is under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), you can evict your tenant at the end of their fixed term with a Section 21 notice using form 6A.
If you wish to evict your tenant during the course of the fixed term, you will have to use a Section 8 notice and rely upon one of the grounds set out in the Housing Act 1988. We can advise you of which form to use and why upon enquiry.
Can I evict a tenant myself?
You can evict your tenant yourself, however eviction notices are complex documents and any mistake in drafting them can derail any potential claim in Court to recover possession of your property.
Furthermore, you can be barred from relying upon using a notice if certain prescribed information was not provided to the tenant during the tenancy. We therefore recommend that you speak to a solicitor if you are thinking of evicting a tenant for independent legal advice.
You can read about common mistakes landlords make with Form 6a Section 21 notices in Kerri Hunter’s article, here.
What is the difference between a Section 21 notice and a Section 8 notice?
A Section 21 notice is a ‘no fault’ notice, and therefore you do not need to give a reason as to why you want the tenant to leave, or why you want to recover possession of the property.
This is the most commonly used notice and has a required form (Form 6a). This can be used at the end of the fixed term in an AST, or during the rolling period in a Periodic Tenancy.
A Section 8 notice can be used whether or not the fixed term of the tenancy agreement has expired, and you wish to recover possession of the property. This is commonly used where the tenant is in rent arrears, or has demonstrated anti-social behaviour at the property.
How much notice do you need to give for evicting a tenant?
You must give the tenant a minimum of 2 months’ notice when using a Section 21 notice.
When using a Section 8 notice, the notice period that you must give the tenant varies depending on the reason you are looking to evict them, however for rent arrears, it is only 14 days, and therefore a much shorter notice period than a Section 21 notice.
How much does it cost to evict a tenant?
Irrespective of the type of notice that you have used, if the tenant does not vacate by the time the notice expires, you will need to issue possession proceedings with Court to get an Order that the tenant must leave. This incurs a Court fee of £355.00.
How long does it take to evict someone?
The timescale for evicting a tenant varies depending upon which notice is used, however the full process usually takes a few months. Frettens can draft the eviction notice for you, apply to Court for a possession Order and represent you at Court if appropriate to take the stress and hassle out of the situation. We can provide you with a cost estimate before you proceed.
Get in touch
If you are a landlord who wants help with the eviction process, please feel free to contact Will Bartley in our Dispute Resolution team here at Frettens, who will be happy to assist you with your enquiry.