Evicting a tenant can be a long and expensive process if not done correctly. It is important to remember that there are strict requirements and procedures that you, as landlord, must adhere to if you want your tenant to leave your property. In most situations a tenant cannot be forced to move out of a property without a court order.
The exact procedure to be followed depends on the type of tenancy agreement and its terms. It is always recommended that you seek legal advice to make sure that you are following the correct procedure.
If your tenant has an assured shorthold tenancy then the procedure set out in the Housing Act 1988 will apply. The tenant must first be given notice requesting that they leave the property before court proceedings can be issued. The type of notice to be served will depend on the reasons for wanting the tenant to leave.
My tenant has broken the terms of our agreement!
In this situation it is likely that a notice pursuant to section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 will need to be served on the tenant. This notice must be in writing and give a minimum notice period of two weeks to two months depending on the grounds for possession that have been relied upon.
The tenancy agreement has ended but my tenant won’t leave!
In this situation it is likely that a notice pursuant to section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 will apply. A section 21 notice, once relatively straightforward, has become quite complicated following the Deposit Protection Scheme introduced by the Housing Act 2004 and the Localism Act and Deregulation Act 2015. Failure to comply with the relevant provisions can have serious consequences and therefore it is imperative to get it right from the outset. Failure to do so could cause significant delays, increased costs and you could be faced with a damages claim from your tenant! The procedures to be followed will depend on when the tenancy commenced (taking into account renewal tenancy agreements). For tenancy agreements that were granted or renewed after 01 October 2015 you will need to ensure that the following are adhered to before serving a section 21 notice.
1. The landlord must have served a Gas Safety Certificate within the last 12 months.
2. The landlord must have served an EPC on the premises on commencement of the tenancy.
3. A deposit, if taken, must have been paid into an authorised scheme within 30 days of receipt.
4. The tenant must have been given a version of the Prescribed Information (How to Rent: the Checklist for Renting in England Guide) which was in place at the date of commencement of the tenancy or any replacement tenancy.
It is recommended that you seek legal advice before serving a section 21 notice to ensure that valid notice is given. Failure to do so could prevent you from issuing court proceedings.
The notice itself must give the tenant at least two months’ notice to leave the property before court proceedings can be issued. Longer notice may be required depending on the terms of the tenancy.