Tenant eviction - everything landlords need to know

By Matthew Daines

tenant eviction

Everything you need to know about tenant evictions

This post was last updated on October 26th, 2021 at 11:12 am

As a landlord, evicting a tenant can be a daunting, stressful and often upsetting prospect. In this blog post, we’ve answered a few questions to explain how evictions work, what you need to know and how you can avoid it altogether.

What is a tenant eviction?

To put it simply – eviction is when a landlord retakes possession of their property from their tenant.

When does tenant eviction happen?

Most tenants can only be evicted in specific circumstances. Landlords must follow the correct legal procedures and issue the correct notices before a tenant can be evicted. At this point, simply talking to your tenant about their situation may help resolve your issues and prevent unnecessary animosity between both parties.

The landlord has to give reasons why the tenant should be evicted; these may include showing that the tenancy agreement has ended, there is unpaid rent or that the tenant’s behaviour is unacceptable.

If it is an assured shorthold tenancy, the landlord must give one month, two months or 14 days’ notice depending on the reason for the eviction.

If rent is owed to the landlord, it is likely that the eviction can be carried out regardless of the type of tenancy. When it comes to rent arrears, the landlord must still follow legal procedures before eviction: the first part being issuing an eviction notice.

What is a tenant eviction notice?

There are two types of eviction notices that landlords can currently serve to their tenants: a Section 21 notice and a Section 8 notice.

A Section 21 notice should be served to your tenant if you want your property back after their fixed-term agreement ends or if they have a period tenancy (with no fixed end date).

A Section 8 notice should be served if your tenant has broken the terms of their agreement and you would like them to leave the property.

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Find out more about Section 21 and Section 8 notices here.

Invalid tenant eviction notices

Many eviction notices served by landlords are invalid and would not hold up in court. To save costs, many landlords choose to serve their own notices – however, the mistakes they make along the way only end up increasing the costs and the court time. The main reasons that notices are invalidated are:

  • Incorrect expiry dates
  • Failure to comply with deposit legislation
  • Inaccurate accompanying rent arrears schedules
  • The method of how the notice is served
  • Typing errors

Need to issue an eviction notice to your tenant? Eviction support and legal advice are available as part of our Rent on Time and Guaranteed Rent plans.

What happens if my tenant ignores my eviction notice?

If your tenant owes you rent and does not leave by the date specified in their eviction notice, you can apply for a standard possession order. If you aren’t claiming any unpaid rent, you can apply for an accelerated possession order.

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Ruby’s tenant refused to leave and built up £2,100 of rent arrears. Find out how we helped her get every penny back here.

What is a possession order?

During the proceedings of a possession order, the court provides the opportunity for both parties to argue their case. It’s often possible for the tenant to negotiate and ask the judge for time to pay off arrears in instalments or make assurances to cease their bad behaviour – avoiding eviction.

If the court gives the landlord a possession order, the tenant’s legal right to live in the property is ended and eviction can be carried out.

If the court delays making an order or decides not to make an order at all, this could be because a landlord has not followed the proper legal process. With some types of tenancy, if the court thinks that eviction is unreasonable, they can suspend it, otherwise known as a suspended possession order. This might occur if the tenant has made assurances, such as agreeing a payment plan to settle their arrears or promising to stop unreasonable behaviour.

If the order is granted, it gives a short time before the accommodation must be vacated usually between 14 and 28 days.

What happens if my tenant refuses to leave?

If your tenant doesn’t leave – even after a possession order has been issued – you can apply for a warrant of possession. This means court bailiffs will evict your tenant by removing them from the property.

How can I avoid evicting my tenant?

As a landlord, there are several preventative measures that you can take in order to minimise the chances going down the route of eviction – and many of them begin before the tenancy has started.

Tenant referencing – Without the background knowledge of the tenant, landlords are opening themselves up to a greater risk of default on the rent payments leading to tenant eviction. By conducting a full reference check, you’ll have a peace of mind knowing your tenant can afford their rent and has a stable source of income.

Secure your deposit – It is now the law for all landlords to protect their tenant’s deposit in a government approved deposit protection scheme. By doing so, your finances are protected and you are prepared for any future disputes.

Insuring your rent – It’s always wise to protect your rent in case your tenant finds themselves in a situation where they are unable to pay. For just £89 a month (inc VAT) you can ensure your rent is paid on time, every time. Find out more about the full benefits of our Rent on Time plan here.

We’ll help you with eviction

At LettingaProperty.com, we offer tenant eviction support as part of both our Guaranteed Rent and Rent on Time management plans.

Visit our website for more information or give us a call on 0333 577 888.

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About Matthew Daines

As COO of LettingaProperty.com since 2011, Matthew holds a dual role in management and operations. His strategic, focused and goal orientated experience in achieving results within international, high-profile organisations adds to LettingaProperty.com’s continual success and innovation within the private rental sector.

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