There are several reasons why a landlord might want to evict a tenant from his/her rental property. Some are a normal part of a tenancy, but some can be stressful and complicated.
Whatever the reason is, the landlord cannot simply enter the property and physically remove the tenant and their belongings. Remember that tenants have statutory rights, even if they have breached the terms of the tenancy. It is important that you as the landlord should follow the rules and correct procedures. Otherwise, you may be charged with harassing or illegally evicting your tenant.
This guide only applies for the most common type of tenancies, the Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs), for both:
- ‘Periodic’ Tenancies (run week by week or month by month with no fixed end date), and
- Fixed-term tenancies (run for a set amount of time).
Most new tenancies are automatically this type (ASTs).
Here are the steps to evicting tenants legally:
Step 1 – Give notice of eviction
- Section 21 notice – is served if you want the property back after a fixed term ends.
- Section 8 notice – is given to a tenant if he/she has broken the terms of the tenancy and you wish to regain possession during the term of the tenancy. For example, the tenant failed to pay the rent, has caused damage to the property or is causing a nuisance. You can download a template here.
Notices can vary from two weeks up to two months, depending on the terms of the tenancy agreement. In general, you will need to serve 2 months notice. Refer to this link for more detailed guidelines.
What if the tenant refuses to accept the notice?
Sometimes tenants refuse to open the door, and the landlord can’t physically serve the notice to them. If this happens, one option is to take a witness and place the notice through the letterbox before 5 pm. The courts will then consider it delivered the next day. Another is to tape the letter over the keyhole and take a photo of it.
You can also use a Professional Notice Servers service if it is difficult or inconvenient for you to visit the rental property personally or if you are worried about a confrontation with the concerned tenant. This is to make sure that your tenants definitely receive your notice. Make sure to secure a certificate of service from the agent to use in court.
Step 2 – Seek a possession order
After you serve the notice to the tenants, and they still refuse to leave the rental property on the specified date on the notice and they owe you rent, you can apply to the court for a Standard Possession Order. This costs £325
You can also apply for an Accelerated Possession Order if you are not claiming any unpaid rent. This costs £355. The advantage of accelerated possession procedure is that it’s sometimes a quicker way to gain possession as there is usually no court hearing. You can download the forms for accelerated possession here.
Step 3 – Apply for a warrant for possession
In case the tenants still refuse to leave after following the steps above, one final step for landlords is to apply to the court for a Warrant for Possession. In this option, bailiffs can remove the tenants from your rental property. This costs £121.
Please remember this is just a guide. We suggest that you should always get professional advice on any legal matters.
In the event of difficulty, either because the tenant is failing to pay rent or has broken other terms of the Tenancy Agreement, Keyring Lettings will be pleased to discuss with you the steps to enforce the terms of the Tenancy Agreement. However, we would stress that the vast majority of lettings we manage are uneventful and trouble-free. We will assist with any eviction proceedings, but our management fee does not cover this. We will always be happy to provide an estimate where appropriate.
If you are thinking of letting your property and don’t know where to start, contact us today.