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Correct tenant removal process


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Our tenant owes us more than two months rent, the AST agreement has expired and is rolling on a monthly periodic basis. We know that we are in a position to serve a section 21 eviction notice and we know when to issue it. However, we are not sure whether we need to issue a formal warning preceding the section 21 which states that "...should the situation not improve, we will be issuing a section 21..." for example?

Our relationship with the tenant has always been relatively amicable until the last recently when the arrears position has arisen and allegations of Anti-social behaviour have been reported to us by the police. We definitely want the tenant to leave but naturally we want to approach it in the most appropriate and of course legally correct manner.

Many thanks for any help which can be provided

Kind Regards


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  • 4 weeks later...

There are probably others who can give more detailed advice on this, but my recent experience might help...

If the tenancy is periodic (not covered by a fixed term) I believe you can issue a Section 21 notice at any time, and this gives the tenant 2 months to leave from the date that rent is next due (assuming rent is payable monthly). If the tenant doesn't leave by the end of the notice period you can then start the application for possession - there is a fast track process for this for which no court hearing is usually required and possession should automatically be granted if the paperwork is served correctly, but this will still take several weeks. Also, be careful about the wording of the Section 21 notice as I gather some have been thrown out on appeal. If the tenant intends to seek local authority accommodation you may have no choice but to seek possession since many local authorities will not rehouse tenants until possession has been granted. It may be worth trying to find out their intentions if it can be done discreetly.

If your tenant has been persistently in arrears or is now at least 2 months in arrears you can issue a Section 8 notice (grounds 8, 10 and/or 11 as appropriate - see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/grounds_for_possession.htm) immediately. It may be possible to cite other grounds if the antisocial behaviour can be proved. Ground 8 is non-discretionary, so a judge must grant possession if the tenants are still 2 months in arrears at the time of the hearing, but they might, of course, pay up in the meantime.

From a standing start Section 8 is probably quicker, but Section 21 is simpler and under this section you are most likely to be granted possession. Good luck!

In my case the tenants became 2 months in arrears towards the end of the Section 21 notice period, so it wasn't worth pursuing the Section 8 route. The tenants actually hung around for a few days after the end of the Section 21 notice period but abandoned the property before I started proceedings.

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To answer the question, yes, I would first write a formal warning to your tenant, if you haven't already done so, explaining clearly what you intend to do and the reasons why in relation to your position as a landlord within the law.

This puts you on the highest ground, should you eventually need to obtain a court judgement.

With any luck, the tenant may then decide to leave without need for further legal action.

But don't bank on recovering your rent arrears - the tenant may be in serious debt and unable to pay.

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As Chestnut says, you may want to warn the tenant first, although legally you don't have to give any warning before serving a notice to quit. My tenants had been persistently late with the rent and uncooperative in allowing access for inspections and maintenance and were warned that they would be given notice to quit if the situation didn't improve. Suffice to say it didn't.

After taking legal advice I went down the Section 21 route since they were erratic paying the rent and had not got 2 months behind so any claim under Section 8 would be discretionary. The tenants stopped paying rent immediately - I eventually managed to reclaim their entire deposit from the TDS and 2 months' rent from their guarantors. The deposit paid for most of the damage when they trashed the place, leaving me only moderately out of pocket.

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