A Guide to Evicting a Tenant Legally

The majority of landlords are completely reasonable in delivering eviction notices because a tenancy has ended (Section 21 Notice) or a tenant has violated the terms of the tenancy agreement, such as by failing to pay rent or destroying the property (Section 8 Notice). Regardless of the reason for the eviction, landlords are required to follow stringent legal procedures as outlined in the Housing Act of 1988. You can get everything to get set if you seek the help of professionals like top letting agents in Harrow. This quick guide outlines the procedures a landlord must follow in order to regain lawful ownership of their home. If a landlord decides to take matters into their own hands, they may end up having to pay thousands of pounds in damages for an unjustified eviction or incurring other expenses and delays as a result of missing important dates or failing to follow the right procedure.

Step 1: Examining the paperwork and serving notice to the renter

To regain control of your property, you can serve a renter with a variety of Notices. Either a Section 8 or Section 21 Notice may be given. It depends on the nature of your tenancy and the reasons why you want your possessions returned. We will analyse your tenancy agreement, any guarantor agreements, and any other paperwork as soon as you give us instructions, and we will create the necessary notification on your behalf. If any actions must be taken before serving a notice, we will let you know as well. For instance, you must confirm that you issued the tenant with the EPC, How to Rent Guide, and Gas Safety Certificate at the beginning of the rental if you want to serve a Section 21 Notice on a tenancy established after 1 October 2015. These must be delivered to your renter before the Section 21 Notice if you haven’t already done so. The Notice will become invalid if this is not done.

Only Section 21 Notices are subject to this requirement; Section 8 Notices are not.

Step 2: Start the legal process

You must file court papers to have your tenant removed if they don’t leave after the notice period has passed (the notice term depending on the reason you’re seeking possession). The most typical notice requirements are 2 weeks if the renter owes 2 months or more in back rent, and at least 2 months for a section 21 notice. Depending on the reason you want to evict your tenant, there are additional grounds with different notice requirements. Never enter the house to evict a renter on your own, since you may be held liable for an unlawful eviction and required to pay the tenant thousands of pounds in damages.

Step 3: Show up to the court proceeding (unless it is an accelerated Section 21)

The tenant has the chance to respond with a defence to the accusation as to why they are delaying the possession hearing. Most tenants very infrequently take this action and instead see a lawyer at the court that day who is offering free consultations. When there are no arrears or when the landlord is not concerned with collecting the arrears, the process is completed on paper, and there is no in-person hearing.

It is unlikely that the tenant will be able to contest the possession procedures if all the paperwork is in place and the basis for possession is valid. The matter may be relisted and go to trial if the tenant claims that the state of the property is the reason they are not paying rent (something they have often complained about to the landlord). The court may issue what is known as a “Suspended Possession Order” if the tenant is only slightly in arrears and the court is confident they will be able to pay these off quickly while continuing to pay the rent.

Step 4: Enter the property or acquire a Warrant of Possession

The tenant has relinquished possession if they have returned the keys to you or your estate agents, at which point you are free to enter and change the locks. You should exercise caution when entering the property, though, if the tenant hasn’t given you the keys back. You must not enter the premises if there is any sign the tenant is still there. If you are unsure whether they have left, you must ask the court for a Warrant of Possession, which arranges for a bailiff to come to the property on a specified date to evict the renter. The date will be given to you and the tenant, and you should go with a locksmith. The renter may be removed by the bailiff with justifiable force. You can change the locks and take other necessary actions with regard to your property once the tenant has departed.

Upcoming modifications to Section 21 Notices

The government is planning to introduce new legislation, the “Renters Reform Bill,” to include modifications to Section 21 Notices as part of its commitment to “levelling up.” According to the bill’s supporters, it will bring about the “largest change to renters’ law in a generation” and improve conditions and rights for millions of people who rent homes privately and through public housing. It suggests outlawing Section 21 “no fault” evictions, discouraging dishonest landlords from taking advantage of tenants, and bolstering the legal justifications for landlords who have valid reasons for requesting an eviction. There is currently no schedule for the implementation of this legislation, but we will be closely monitoring events and will give you an update as soon as possible.

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