Tenant eviction specialists – a guide for landlords
If talking things over and negotiating with your problem tenants fail, sometimes eviction is the only answer. When this seems like the way things are heading, solicitors who are tenant eviction specialists make sure you are proceeding in a way that’s both effective and legal.
If you are a landlord worried about how you are going to go about evicting tenants from your property, here is everything you need to know about the best way to proceed:
What Is The Easiest Way To Evict A Tenant?
The easiest way to evict a tenant is through the standard process of repossessing a property you own. Usually, this happens at the end of a rental period, is understood to be a possibility by the tenant, and shouldn’t be contested.
This is sometimes called a “Section 21” or a “no fault” eviction because you aren’t finding fault with the behaviour of your tenant. You simply want to take possession of your property again once the fixed rental period is up.
A slightly more complex process is called a “Section 8” eviction. This is for circumstances where rent is not being paid or your tenant has otherwise broken your tenancy agreement in some way.
What Is A Section 21 Notice Eviction?
A Section 21 or “no fault” eviction involves you notifying your tenant that you and they have complied with all of their responsibilities but you no longer wish to rent out the property you own.
There are pros and cons of this approach, including:
- Timeframe – you should expect to have to give your tenant a minimum four-month notice period during a Section 21 eviction. This is pretty short, especially if your tenant does not contest it. This allows everything to happen under the “Accelerated Possession Procedure”.
- Low cost – the “Accelerated Possession Procedure” is essentially all paperwork and includes no legal fees. This makes an uncontested Section 21 eviction comparatively cheap.
- The court has to comply – as long as you have properly fulfilled all your responsibilities as landlord and correctly filled out the Section 21 notification, any court will have to return your property to you.
- Danger of failure to fulfil responsibilities – if it transpires you have not fulfilled your responsibilities as landlord or made a mistake in the application process, it can imperil or delay a Section 21 eviction process.
- You can’t claim for rent arrears – or anything else your tenant may owe you.
What Is A Section 8 Notice Eviction?
A Section 8 eviction is normally used when your tenants have “breached the covenant” – that is to say, they’ve broken your tenancy agreement or behaved unreasonably in some way. The most common example is failing to pay you the agreed rent.
It is also worth knowing that you can use a Section 8 eviction to swiftly regain possession of a property you used to live in.
The main advantages and disadvantages of using a Section 8 notice to evict your tenants are:
- Timeframe – it is possible that a Section 8 notice may come into effect even 24 hours after you serve notice to your tenant. However, because a court hearing is usually involved, the process as a whole can take much longer.
- Requires proof – this isn’t a “no fault eviction. You need to prove what your tenant has done (e.g. failed to pay rent) to justify your evicting them.
- You can claim for rent arrears – you can claim for unpaid rent as part of your Section 8 proceedings. It is also possible to reach an out-of-court settlement, where you can potentially negotiate on things like unpaid rent and timeframe for vacating the property.
- Cost and time required – the proof that Section 8 requires means the process can take longer and be more costly than a Section 21 notice. You will also likely have to go to court, with the attendant cost that involves.
- You can fail to fulfil your responsibilities – you can try for a Section 8 eviction even if you have not met all of your landlord obligations. Despite this, failures to comply can be penalised by the court – for example, they may offset against any rent your tenant owes you.
What is the fastest you can evict a tenant?
The UK court system is almost chronically underfunded and has faced continual cuts over the past decade or so. This means the timeframes for eviction are roughly:
- Section 21 eviction – an average of around one to two months, with a notification period of at least four months.
- Section 8 eviction – around two to three months if uncontested, considerably longer if contested.
How Much Does It Cost To Evict A Tenant In The UK?
Serving notice and securing possession orders cost money. If you need to go to the county court – or, worse, the High Court – the cost of evicting a tenant will be even higher, especially if multiple
hearings are required (and they often are). As ballpark figures:
- An uncontested eviction – might cost anywhere up to £1400.
- A contested eviction – can be anywhere up to £1600 with solicitors often charging for any required court hearings on top.
Do I Need Tenant Eviction Solicitors?
It is possible to handle a Section 21 eviction process yourself. That said, such are the complexities of the laws involved in delivering a valid eviction notice, most people will use specialist tenant eviction solicitors to make sure they do everything correctly.
Under a Section 8 notice eviction, the court has a great deal of latitude to decide whether your particular grievance is sufficient to warrant evicting your tenant. In these cases, expert legal advice will definitely be required if you want your eviction process to be legal, ethical, and successful.
Wondering how to find tenant eviction solicitors who can support you through this difficult process?
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