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Beginner’s Guide to Evicting a Tenant

If you have never come across the process of evicting a tenant before, then well done. However, if this is the case, you won’t know the perils that can arise. If you want a beginner’s guide to set out the major obstacles then keep on reading.

Notices

You cannot evict a tenant without first serving a legal notice. Out of the possession claims that fail, the majority is due to a defective notice. There are two main methods of evicting – section 8 and section 21. Both of these methods have a different notice and information that must be included.

Over the years the Government has drafted ‘precedent’ notices that must be used. If you do not draft your notice using the most updated precedent, then you run the risk of a competent Judge explaining that your notice is not in line with the law and if a Judge comes to this conclusion, then he, or she, cannot permit you possession of your property.

When did the tenancy start?

You should be aware of the majority changes that the Deregulation Act 2015 cast on landlords and particularly, the method of section 21 eviction.

If the tenancy started pre-1st October 2015 then you can use the Form 6A (also known as the tenancy agreement) but it is advised to use the ‘old style’ which does not have a precedent but does have particular information that has to be contained in the notice.

With section 8, there has been a ‘precedent’ form around for some time and you must use this form. If you are using section 8 then you must provide detailed information so the tenant can establish what the ‘breach’ is and how they can remedy it. If your notice is not detailed enough for the tenant to understand what the problem is, a Judge is unlikely to grant you possession.

What next?

Once the notice has expired, you have the ability to apply to the court for the possession order. This is the ‘official’ court process and if you do not comply with the court rules, your case could be struck out.

If you use the accelerated procedure then usually the matter will be decided on the documentation but if you proceed using section 8 then there is always a hearing.

Before applying to the court read up on the Civil Procedure Rules as they govern the procedure that should be followed.

Finally got possession…

If you are successful and obtain a possession order the Judge will order the tenant to leave in a set number of days. Once that date has passed then you have the ability to instruct bailiffs to legally remove them from the property.

One thing to be aware of once you reach this stage – if the tenant is being particularly awkward and does not prepare for the bailiff visit leaving all their possessions in the property, then you are under a duty to ensure that those possessions are looked after. It is advisable to insert a clause into your tenancy agreement or in the alternative, send a letter to the tenant to let them know.

Can we help?

Most possession proceedings go through the procedure smoothly and if you take one piece of advice from this article, make sure that everything is valid before you apply to the Court otherwise you will waste time and money. If you do need any advice please telephone our housing specialist, Amy Castleman, 01234 800063 or amy.castleman@premiersolicitors.co.uk

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