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How to evict and claim arrears


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My tenants C and S (a couple) took residency with a shorthold assured tenancy for 6 months in June 2009. In Jan 2010 c renewed, but this time alone, as apparently her boyfriend hS ad walked out, she claims in November 2009. She then lost her job and her pregnancy: she has not paid any rent since December 6th 2010, so she'll be three months in arrears this month.

She is trying to get backdated housing benefit, and claims they will only give her half of the requested sum (it's £650/month, large 3 bed flat with large garden and conservatory, Housing Ben will only giver her £380/month) from February, as they don't beleive the boyfriend S walked out in november 2009 as she says. We have witnesses to back her up. I live outside of UK until March 22nd 2010: she doesn't answer phone or emails, and her arrears are completely stuffing up my life. I am doing a PhD and her rent supports me.

I issued a word processed eviction notice (that I wrote, not downloaded) on January 16th 2010, effectively giving her 2 months to vacate the property and pay her debts. I have no idea whether she's done anything: as I say she doesn't answer the phone or emails. Friends have been round to hand deliver notes and say she's still there. Advice please; I have written directly to Sussex Housing Benefit telling them I will evict her unless they pay her rent, and that I will accept the £380 a month. First I want her out. Second, I want the money she owes. Some of it will be covered by her deposit. Am I legally allowed to insist she leaves on march 16th 2010 when i return to England for urgent hospital tests? I have a terminal disease and need somewhere to live. Am I legally allowed to take her deposit for the outstanding arrears?

Do I have to get a section 21 eviction notice from the court with a short hold assured tenancy, am I allowed to give her 2 months notice because she has breached contract? And when is this 2 months from?


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Yes you will have to evict using a Section 21 through the courts. I would seriously consider using a specialist landlord and tenant solicitor as you probably have not given notice in the correct manner and may not see posession on 16 March. Definitely start again or wait forever!

Go easy on sending friends around with messages as this could be construed as harrassment.

Don't bother writing to your tenant's benefit payers as they will not reply to you or re-home her until she is evicted.

She will not reply to you as she knows her rights and that you are in a very weak position.

I would just go for getting posession and some of the rent from the deposit. You could try getting the solicitor to start debt recovery before she she leaves your address but is this person ever likely to pay up if on benefit? She has probably spent any benefit given to her already on baby clothes!

Unfortunately being and PHD student living aboard or being terminally ill does not entitle you to instant posession. Maybe a crash course in being a professional and responsible landlord would have been a better choice.


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