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The Do’s and Don’ts of Eviction
When evicting a tenant from their rental property is it crucial that landlords understand how to properly navigate tenant evictions. Evicting a tenant really should be a last resort when you’re a landlord. It’s upsetting for both parties and can prove to be a pretty lengthy process, involving court action.
What Reasons Can People Be Evicted?
As can be somewhat excepted there are a number of reasons why a landlord may move to reclaim possession of their rental property. With this being said if the owner of the rental property issues the occupants with a section 21 notice of eviction then they are under no legal obligation to provide a reason for the eviction as the notice does not imply any fault on behalf of the tenants, instead, simply that the owner wishes to take back their property once the tenancy has come to an end. However, reasons for eviction can range from the landlord wanting to sell the property, to mortgage repossession, to arrears and antisocial behaviour.
What Is the Process of Eviction of Tenants?
Landlords are able to reclaim possession of their rental property through issuing the occupants of the rental with a notice of eviction. There are two types of notice an owner is able to serve to their tenants, with each having a unique procedure and cause for use.
Although perhaps the most revered by landlords, the section 21 eviction notice has become the target of many tenant campaign groups, claiming the so-called “no fault eviction” is one of the leading causes of homelessness within the UK. This is because landlords are empowered to issue a tenant of their property with a section 21 notice, allowing them to reclaim possession of the rental property once the fixed term comes to an end without offering any reasoning or justification to the tenant.
With this being said owners can only use a section 21 notice if they are maintaining a valid assured shorthold tenancy with their occupants, ensuring that they not only have a written tenancy agreement but have also provided them with all the correspondence and documentation essential to renting, including an EPC, How to Rent Guide and safety certificates.
Alternatively, landlords are able to use what is referred to as a section 8 notice of eviction. Unlike when serving tenants with a section 21 notice landlords must show reasoning as to why the tenant needs to face eviction, commonly citing significant rent arrears, antisocial behaviour or damage to the rental property. The justification for the eviction will influence the process itself as the notice periods the occupants are afforded before they must leave the property are dependent on the “grounds” for eviction detailed by the landlord.
What Happens if a Tenant Refuses to Leave After an Eviction Notice?
In the case that the occupants of the property refuse to leave despite being served a notice of eviction, the landlord is able to apply for a possession order through the court system. If successful the owner will either be awarded a suspended possession order or an outright possession order.
Typically, if granted an outright possession order the tenants will be given a date by which they must leave the rental property, commonly around fourteen days after the court hearing, but in some cases, the occupants are able to make an appeal to have this date pushed back if they are facing hardship that would prevent them from leaving their home.
If after this date the occupants still refuse to vacate the property, the owner is able to once again turn to the courts to obtain a warrant of eviction, allowing the landlord to then depend on the services of court bailiffs to help reclaim possession of the property.
What Happens With a Suspended Possession Order?
Alternatively, the owner of the rental property may instead be given a suspended possession order. In this instance, the tenants may not be removed from the property, but instead permitted to remain if they satisfy specific conditions. These conditions will depend on the grounds for the eviction, with perhaps the most common being that the residents can remain within the rental property providing that they first repay any rent arrears they owe to the landlord.
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