It is important to follow the correct procedures to evict a tenant who breaches the tenancy agreement for an assured shorthold tenancy. There are a number of rules in place to prevent rogue landlords or letting agents harassing their tenants or evicting them illegally and by not using the official method to remove them, you run the risk of falling foul of these.
Grounds for Evicting a Tenant
The most common breach of the tenancy agreement is allowing the rent to fall into arrears, but there are a range of other situations laid out in the Housing Act 1988 after which a landlord is legally able to end a tenancy early.
These include allowing the property to deteriorate as a result of neglect, causing a nuisance to neighbours or visitors, being found to have supplied false information that resulted in the granting of the original tenancy, and so on.
Section 21 Notice
You can use a Section 21 notice in order to evict the tenants. You do not need to provide a reason and can ask them to leave at the end of a fixed term tenancy or earlier if a break clause has been added to the agreement. A Section 21 notice also allows you to evict a tenant whose agreement has no fixed end date. These are often called periodic tenancies.
On issuing a Section 21 notice, you must give at least two months’ notice to tenants. You are advised to keep some proof of the notice you have given to your tenants, including the date on which you served it. You are advised to send it recorded delivery so there is proof that it was served if there are any disputes in the future. It is also worth noting down who served it and when on the Section 21 notice, and you could also fill in a certification of service form, known as an N125.
The N125 can be used to apply for an accelerated possession order if the tenant does not leave by the date on the notice.
What Can You Do if a Tenant Refuses to Leave?
If you want to evict a tenant who breaches the tenancy agreement, but they stay beyond the Section 21 notice period, you can apply for either a standard or accelerated possession order.
Standard Possession Order
Unfortunately, you cannot apply for a standard possession order online if your tenant has broken the rental agreement. Instead you must fill in a form and post it to your nearest court that deals with this sort of case. You need to send a cheque for £355 along with your application.
It should be noted that you are not guaranteed to be presented with a possession order simply because you served tenants with a notice. That is for the court to decide. You are advised to note down in the notice all of the breaches of the tenancy agreement that have occurred. This is because some of the allowable grounds for eviction are only considered at the discretion of the court, whilst others may be difficult to prove. The more weight there is to your case, the more likely you are to succeed in the eviction.
You should look to hire a legal professional ahead of these proceedings.
Accelerated Possession Order
The advantage of taking out an accelerated possession order is that it is quicker and often doesn’t require a court hearing. The only downside is that you cannot claim any rent arrears on the property. In order to receive the money you are owed, you need to either enter the standard procedure or follow the accelerated procedure and claim the arrears in a separate court hearing.
This order costs £355.
What Happens Next?
If the court rules in the favour of the landlord, the standard possession order can take effect within 14 days. However, if this is likely to cause hardship to the tenant, that could be extended to six weeks.
Your tenants have 14 days from receiving your application to challenge it. After that, a judge either issues you with the order or, if there is a problem with the paperwork or the tenants have a genuine grievance, they may hold a court hearing.
Writing a Watertight Tenancy Agreement
Your tenancy agreement needs to be as clear as possible when it comes to what is expected of landlords and tenants. If you want help creating a document that will ensure all parties are happy and content, Executive Property Management Solutions provides that service. Call us today on 0208 5757630 to find out more.