Sometimes, as a landlord, you will need to evict a tenant from your property. This may happen for a number of reasons ranging from a fall out between you and tenant, to the non-payment of rent, or the condition and repair of the property. Whether you can evict a tenant depends on a number of different factors and Landlord and Tenant law can be a very complicated area. If you need to evict a tenant then seeking legal advice may be beneficial.
The powers which a landlord has to evict a tenant will depend of the type of agreement or lease into which the parties have entered. In most cases the tenancy will be what is known as an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). An AST applies when the property involved is privately-owned, the tenancy started after 15 January 1989, and the tenant or tenants live in the property but you as the landlord do not. This article will refer to AST agreements only in the interests of clarity.
If you need to evict a tenant or tenants who have an AST then there are two courses of action available through the 1988 Housing Act.
Section 8 evictions
Under the 1988 Housing Act, a tenant has certain statutory protection and therefore a landlord cannot simply claim possession or evict a tenant. However, if, as a landlord, you wish to evict a tenant or tenants while the AST is active you can do so using section 8 citing certain grounds.
A list of the grounds that a landlord can evict a tenant or tenants from their property can be found here. Please be aware, the notice period for evicts tenants changes depending on the grounds used; this will be either two weeks or two months’ notice.
Section 21 evictions
A landlord can also gain possession of their property using section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act. Section 21 allows a landlord to gain possession once a fixed-term rental agreement comes to an end.
In order to evict a tenant under section 21 you must give two months notice in writing. You do not need to give a reason for the eviction, however you do need to state you are evicting the tenants under Section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act in the written notice. Also, it is necessary to give more than two months’ notice if the fixed term has expired and the gap between the dates that the rent falls due is more than two months (for example if the contract has the rent paid quarterly).
It is important to note that is a criminal offence to harass the tenant or arrange for anybody else to do so. A tenant can usually only be evicted with an order from the court and any attempt to do this without any such order can lead to criminal sanctions.
A court will not evict a tenant lightly, as it is not in the interest of the public to see anybody homeless. If you are a landlord looking to evict a tenant or a tenant facing eviction it is strongly recommended you receive advice from a local property solicitor.
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