Landlord and tenants have a unique relationship and quite often it’s a great partnership, but when rent arrears pile up the landlord has to look at ways to get the property back to put back on the rental market. Tenant eviction is a necessary part of being a landlord in 2020.
How to evict a tenant in 2020 step by step
Landlord and tenants have a unique relationship and quite often it’s a great partnership, but when rent arrears pile up the landlord has to look at ways to get the property back to put back on the rental market. The last resort for any landlord is to take action against non-compliant tenants with an eviction notice, a process that is heavily regulated with protected rights for both parties under Section 21 and 8 notices if the property is located in England.
When can you evict a tenant?
The most common reason for evicting tenants is rent arrears. You can issue a section 21 notice if your tenant has an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) and you need the property back at the end of the fixed term. However, if the tenant has broken the terms of the tenancy, you can issue a section 8 notice which gives them between two weeks and two months’ notice to vacate.
Legally, a tenant must be two months in arrears before proceedings can commence and the process of going to court can then take up to a further three months. This can mean that a landlord can be without any rent for a whopping six months before possession is granted. Landlords will also accrue legal fees which, although costs may be awarded at the hearing together with any rent arrears, are very difficult to get back from a tenant who has little or no money.
You can evict tenants who have an assured shorthold tenancy using a Section 21 or Section 8 notice, or both. Use a Section 8 notice if your tenants have broken the terms of the tenancy.
You can use a Section 21 notice to evict your tenants either:
- After a fixed term tenancy ends – if there’s a written contract
- During a tenancy with no fixed end date – known as a ‘periodic’ tenancy
You cannot use a Section 21 notice if any of the following apply:
- It’s less than 4 months since the tenancy started, or the fixed term has not ended, unless there’s a clause in the contract which allows you to do this;
- The property is categorized as a house in multiple occupations (HMO) and does not have an HMO license from the council;
- The tenancy started after April 2007 and you have not put the tenants’ deposit in a deposit protection scheme;
- The tenancy started after October 2015 and you have not used form 6a or a letter with all the same information on it;
- The council has served an improvement notice on the property in the last 6 months;
- The council has served a notice in the last 6 months that says it will do emergency works on the property;
- You have not repaid any unlawful fees or deposits that you charged the tenant – read the guidance for landlords on the Tenant Fees Act 2019;
- You also cannot use a Section 21 notice if you have not given the tenants copies of: the property’s Energy Performance Certificate, a current gas safety certificate for the property and the government’s ‘How to rent’ guide;
Section 8 notice of seeking possession
To give your tenants notice using a Section 8, you must fill in a ‘Notice seeking possession of a property let on an assured tenancy or an assured agricultural occupancy’. Specify on the notice which terms of the tenancy they’ve broken. You can give between 2 weeks’ and 2 months’ notice depending on which terms they’ve broken.
You can apply to the court for a possession order if your tenants do not leave by the specified date.
You can get legal advice on how to fill in a Section 8 with the correct notice periods and how to give it to your tenants.
How to evict a tenant step by step
Step 1: Give notice of eviction
Step 2: Seek a Possession Order
Step 3: Apply for a Warrant for Possession
Can you evict a tenant without going to court?
The quick answer is that in the vast majority of cases you can’t get them out quickly unless you can persuade them to move out voluntarily. The question is: Can a landlord turn off the utilities of a tenant or change the locks on the door or kick him out without going to court? No. It is illegal for your landlord to throw you out by force. Your landlord must get a court order before they evict you.
Best tenant’s guide for 2020
Love Your Postcode™ prides itself on expert advice every step of the way. This tenant guide will take you through the process of renting a property as a tenant. Whether you’re planning to rent a studio apartment, a flat or a house this guide provides you with the information that you need to know.
Finding the right property – Love Your Postcode™ estate agents can help to sell or find you the perfect property quickly. We use high-quality digital photo’s to give you a closer idea of how the property looks like before visiting it. You can find us on the most important property websites such as Rightmove. When you have selected we will gladly show you the property to ensure that it’s just right for you.
Securing a property to rent – Having found a suitable house or flat to rent, what happens next? We will ask you for an application fee which is payable at the time of your application. Love Your Postcode will then begin the administrative process of requesting references on your behalf.
LYP Club Membership – Our agency does not take custodial deposits for any of its properties. Instead, it provides a premium membership contract for all working-class applicants that are seeking great quality homes throughout the country. The membership allows for a family to have the first choice over any available property within the group and is transferable from property to property because it moves with you. It’s a very unique concept founded in 2009 and currently has over 1000 live members across the UK.
- Tenants: welcome to a world where you can never lose a deposit, ever again. Our club membership has many benefits for both the landlords and tenants.
- Landlords: imagine hassle-free property management and a world where you don’t need to argue for your right to apply costs against a deposit. We have a no quibble policy to underwrite every transaction subject to the property being returned back to us on management. Approved by Trading Standards in 2011.
References – Your prospective new landlord will be keen to make sure that you are a suitable tenant and that you have the ability to pay your rent, while also making sure that you have rented a property without any major problems in the past (if this is applicable).
You will be asked to complete an application form which not only gives us the information that we require but also your permission to deal with this part of the process on your behalf as quickly as possible.
When you apply for the property, some or all of the following documents may be requested:
References from previous landlords – you may be asked to give the details of where you have lived within the last 3 years
- A credit check – This will allow them to see if you have a good history of paying your bills.
- Your bank details – including bank name, account number and sort-code
- Details of your employment – your employer, job title, payroll number, salary, previous employer, etc.
Guarantors – Sometimes referencing decisions will require you to provide a guarantor if for example, your earnings are not quite enough to cover the rental payments or if you have only recently started in your job. Your guarantor will be required to undergo the checks as above to enable you to achieve the appropriate rating set by the referencing agency.
They will be expected to pay the rental should there be any default during the tenancy and they will also be held responsible for the upkeep of the property. Do not worry if this situation does apply to you, it is not uncommon and we will be able to explain the details at every step of the way.
The inventory – We will provide an inventory for the property. The inventory is a detailed list of the contents and condition of the property at the point that you move into it. By both parties agreeing that the inventory is correct at the start of the tenancy, we minimize the risk of any disputes at the end of the tenancy. We recommend therefore that you thoroughly check the inventory it before you sign it.
The Tenancy Agreement – All relevant parties will be asked to sign this document which outlines the agreed responsibilities of the landlord and tenant.
Please take time to read and understand the draft copy which will be given to you before the move in day.
Tenant responsibilities – You must give us access to the property to inspect it or carry out repairs. We have to give you at least 24 hours’ notice and visit at a reasonable time of day unless it’s an emergency.
You must also:
- take good care of the property, eg turn off the water at the mains if you’re away in cold weather
- pay the agreed rent, even if repairs are needed or you’re in dispute with your landlord
- pay other charges as agreed with us, eg Council Tax or utility bills
- repair or pay for any damage caused by you, your family or friends
- only sublet a property if the tenancy agreement or your landlord allows it
Love your postcode has the right to take legal action to evict you if you don’t meet your responsibilities.
During The Tenancy – It is not uncommon for landlords and Love Your Postcode to schedule in regular visits to the property in order to check that you are happy and that the property is being kept in good order. Usually, these visits take place two or three times a year and are agreed beforehand with yourself.
Renewing your tenancy – So, you’ve come to the end of your first tenancy at the property. You now have two options to consider: Do you sign another tenancy or move out?If you decide to extend your stay at the property then remember you will need to provide at least one month notice in writing to Love Your Postcode, asking permission to stay on beyond your initial agreement. Providing your landlord is happy with you and the condition of the house or flat, you’ll most likely be allowed to continue with your occupancy.
Moving out – If you decide to move out, then again you will need to serve at least one month notice in writing to Love Your Postcode to terminate the contract at the end of the initially agreed period. As long as the condition of the property is the same as when you moved in (barring normal wear and tear), you’ll have no problem. Here’s what you should do:
- Give the property a thorough clean, including carpets, windows, walls and furniture
- If it’s your responsibility, tidy up the garden and clear away any rubbish
- Return all of the keys to your Love Your Postcode branch.
- Remove all of your personal belongings
- Be satisfied you’re leaving the property as you found it.
Final inventory check – You’ll have the opportunity to run through the inventory checklist on the day of departure. It’s important that this job is done before you leave the property to avoid you being accountable for any damage that occurs after you’ve left. If there is any damage, you should agree with the landlord the cost of repairing or replacing such items.
Our Estate Agents give your home maximum exposure online & offline, getting it more views from potential applicants, therefore more offers, and ultimately the highest possible finishing value. This means you end up with more money in your pocket and you enjoy a higher quality service. Call us on 0800 862 0870, download our property app or book a free online property valuation today.