How do I evict my tenant?
How do I evict a tenant occupying under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement?
There are several legal routes to evict a tenant, however the most common way to commence the process is by serving a “Section 21” notice (which refers to Section 21 of the Housing Act 1998). This involves providing written notice of the eviction to the tenant, specifying the date of the required possession which must be calculated with regard to the AST agreement and, if needed, also with regard to the rent payment dates.
An alternative method of eviction which may be used in the case of certain specified breaches of the tenancy agreement, is to serve a Section 8 notice instead.
How much notice do I need to give for eviction?
At least two months’ notice from the date of service must be given when serving a Section 21 notice. Court proceedings can then be issued the day after the expiry date specified in the notice.
If using a Section 8 notice, depending on the ground for possession, you will need to provide notice of between 2 weeks and 2 months. Certain grounds for possession hold a mandatory eviction status and others are discretionary meaning the Judge decides whether or not to grant possession on the evidence set out before them.
Do I need to wait until the end of a fixed term tenancy before evicting a tenant?
You cannot evict a tenant under Section 21 during the fixed term period of their tenancy. As such, the date of required possession must fall outside of the fixed term. If the fixed term has expired (i.e. leading to a statutory periodic tenancy) then the date of required possession must be the last day of the periodic rental period.
Calculating the correct dates can be complicated and so we recommend seeking professional assistance before serving your own Section 21 or Section 8 notice.
Should I use a Section 21 notice or a Section 8 notice?
If you qualify and can satisfy the criteria for using the ‘accelerated’ possession route under Section 21 then this can be a faster service from the court and will not require there to be a court hearing.
If you do not qualify to use Section 21, you may be able to use a Section 8 notice to evict the tenant if you fall into one of the sub-categories for possession. However, sometimes there can be court delays and tenant may defend the claim leading, in some cases, to multiple hearings taking place which can be costly. This can be a complex area of law so it is always best to speak to your solicitor for advice on the best solution based on the facts of your case.
What if my tenants don’t move out?
If following the service of a valid notice your tenants fail to move out, then our specialist team can attend to the eviction procedure through the Court using either the accelerated possession procedure or the section 8 route.
It is a criminal offence to evict a tenant without a court order for possession and so do not attempt eviction without following the correct procedure and obtaining the correct documentation.
What might prevent a successful eviction?
Landlords must make sure that they are fully compliant with all of the latest regulations, otherwise they may find themselves unable to evict a tenant. A few things to bear in mind are:
- For tenancies which started after 1 October 2015: tenants must be provided with copies of EPC, Gas Safety Certificate and the most recent version of “How to rent: The checklist for renting in England”
- Tenancy deposits must be protected in the prescribed way (i.e. in a government approved tenancy deposit protection scheme)
- Under the Retaliatory Eviction and the Deregulation Act 2015, landlords cannot evict a tenant because they have complained about bad conditions in the property or asked for repairs
- Right to rent checks should be completed
If you do not qualify to evict your tenant under either the Section 21 or Section 8 route then you may need to grant your tenant a fresh Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement, follow the correct registration and notification procedures then attempt the eviction again at a future point.