Evicting bad tenants can be a major problem for landlords. Tenants with substantial rent arrears can have a serious effect on your investment and cash flow and one simple mistake during the eviction process can lead to a bad situation becoming much worse.
We understand the issues landlords face whether you have one property or several and having a plan of action in place if you find yourself needing to evict a tenant is essential to keeping your business running smoothly.
Don’t get caught out
Eviction can be a complicated process and you must follow specific procedures. It is a criminal offence to evict tenants other than by way of obtaining a possession order from the court.
By instructing a good solicitor before you take any action, you can have peace of mind knowing that all legal procedures will be followed.
Which notice should you serve?
The eviction process begins by serving the appropriate notice telling your tenant that they need to leave and providing a date for them to leave by.
There are two main notices:
This notice can be used when the tenant is in arrears of rent of over 2 months/8 weeks. This is a 14 day notice but additional days must be allowed to serve the notice.
This is an alternative two month notice that can be served as well as a S8 Notice where you require your property back due to no fault of your tenant. At times it can be a quicker and cheaper option as usually no court hearing is required.
Other notices are available and we can advise you on which route to take and arrange for the notice to be drafted and served.
If the tenant refuses to leave, we can apply to the court for a possession order which is required on your behalf. If granted, it ends the tenant’s legal right to live in your property and you can evict them. The tenant will be given a short time before they have to leave, usually 14- 28 days, and if they fail to do so then court bailiffs will be required to evict them.
The cost for drafting S8 and S21 notices is £75 plus VAT
Possession for rent arrears
If your notice is for rent arrears and your tenant hasn’t left the property by the expiry date of the notice, we can apply to the court for an order for possession on your behalf. We’ll draft the necessary court papers for you and issue the claim to the county court who will list it for a hearing four to eight weeks after the issue date. Your dedicated solicitor will arrange representation at the hearing and prepare all the necessary documents for you.
So long as the rent arrears remain in excess of two months and all other procedures have been followed then the court must award you possession, normally within 14 to 28 days after the hearing. The court should also provide a monetary judgment in respect of the arrears.
Our fixed fee service for possession claims due to rent arrears which are successfully resolved at the first hearing is £450 plus VAT. There is an additional court fee of £325 and the fee for representation at the hearing is £135 plus VAT. If the matter is not resolved at the first hearing then we will advise you of the additional costs payable to resolve the issue.
Recovering possession under a S21 Notice after the expiry of a fixed term tenancy is known as the accelerated procedure. There is usually no court hearing required and the court should grant you possession upon reviewing the papers.
If the S21 Notice expires and your tenant has not left the property, we’ll draft a claim and issue it on your behalf. The tenant has 14 days to respond. After this time, and providing the tenant doesn’t raise a defence, we’ll request an order for possession. Providing the correct procedures have been followed, the court should make an order that the tenant leaves the property, at the earliest two weeks after the order or at the latest six weeks.
Our fixed fee service for accelerated possession claims which are successfully resolved without a court hearing is £395 plus VAT with an additional court fee of £355. If a court hearing is required then we will advise you of the additional costs payable.
Once you have a date for possession you should arrange for your property to be inspected to see if your tenant has left. If they have not, it is imperative that you do not try to evict them yourself. Contact us and we’ll arrange for a bailiff to be instructed to evict the tenant.
Our fees for instructing a bailiff are £150 plus vat and there is a court fee of £121 payable for issue of the warrant.
Rent arrears recovery
If your tenant owes you rent you will need to decide whether to pursue them for it or not. Our advice to landlords is simple – the priority is to get your property back as soon as you can, then consider later whether you can recover any lost rent money.
If your tenant ‘won’t pay’ rather than ‘can’t pay’ then we can pursue your tenant for the money owed and depending on your circumstances, we may be able to offer you some fixed fee options.
Contact us to find out your options.
Tracing a tenant once they have left the property
If your tenant owes you money for rent or damages and you believe that they are evading payment rather than simply not being able to pay then we can trace them for you. Once found, if your tenant has the means to pay we can advise you on the enforcement options available to you.