What to do when tenant relationships go wrong – getting your property back
11 July 2018 by Lawrence Adams
Residential Possession Proceedings
No matter how much effort you put into maintaining your relationship with your tenant, sometimes, things just go wrong!
There are a number of options open to landlords who are looking to get possession of a Property back from an unwilling or problem tenant.
The most common ground for a landlord is through service of a notice pursuant to section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. The section 21 notice is commonly referred to as a ‘no-fault’ notice as it does not rely on the tenant having breached any terms of the tenancy agreement. Notice can be served at any time after the expiry of a fixed term tenancy agreement and must be written in a form prescribed by law. There are a number of circumstances where it might not be possible to use a section 21 notice, for example, where 6 months have not elapsed since the beginning of the tenant’s occupation or where a deposit has not been protected within 30 days of receipt. There are often ways to remedy these issues, however, most cases turn on their own facts.
The less common way is through service of a section 8 notice under the Housing Act 1988. In contrast to section 21, a landlord will seek to rely on a breach of the tenancy agreement for one of a number of reasons outlined at schedule 2 of the 1988 Act. The most common breach is a breach of the covenant to pay rent. The majority of claims will involve rent arrears that exceed 2 months although other grounds under the schedule could see the landlord claim possession for any breach of the tenancy agreement or even late payment of rent.
Procedurally, it is advisable that you contact a solicitor before serving either of the above notices. Slight deviations from the prescribed procedure could result in notices being deemed inaccurate and might result in wasted time and costs. Both section 21 and section 8 notice must be in a particular format and contain specific details. Once notices have been served, and the time contained therein has expired, your next step is to apply to the County Court for possession using either the accelerated possession procedure (which rarely requires a hearing) or the standard possession procedure (which does involve a hearing).
If you are a landlord and find yourself needing to evict your tenant, do not hesitate to get in touch with our landlord and tenant law specialists – call 01206 700113 or email [email protected]