It can be very stressful when a tenant will not vacate your property at the end of their tenancy or when they have been asked to vacate for breaching a term in the tenancy (such as falling into rental arrears) but refuse to leave.
If you have found yourself in this situation or are wondering what to do should you ever experience this, then rest assured there is a process to re-possess your property again.
You can evict tenants who have an assured shorthold tenancy in compliance with the procedure within Section 21 and/or Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 and this article will provide you with a brief overview of both procedures.
The exact procedure will depend on the tenancy agreement and its terms. However, for the purposes of Section 8 and Section 21, we will be focusing our attention on Assured Shorthold Tenancies.
Assured Shorthold Tenancies
There are two types of assured shorthold tenancies, which are as follows:
Periodic Tenancies – these run week by week or month by month with no fixed end date.
Fixed-Term Tenancies – these run for a set amount of time such 6 or 12 months.
You must follow a set process if your tenants have an assured shorthold tenancy.
If you want possession of your property after a fixed term ends, you can serve on your tenant a Section 21 Notice.
You can also choose to serve a Section 8 notice if the tenant has broken the terms of the tenancy such as their obligation to pay rent, and you are looking to recover the unpaid sum.
Section 21 and Section 8 notices
Before serving a notice, it is always best to try to resolve any disputes with your tenant. For example, work with your tenant to manage rent arrears or agree a rental repayment plan if they have fallen into arrears.
The amount of notice you need to give your tenant depends on the grounds you are relying on for seeking repossession and is something which should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Section 21 notice:- seeking possession.
You can use a Section 21 notice to evict your tenants either:
- After a fixed term tenancy ends (if there’s a written contract); or
- During a tenancy with no fixed end date (referred to as a ‘periodic’ tenancy).
In England, a Section 21 notice must give your tenants at least 2 months’ notice to vacate the property.
If your tenants do not leave by the specified date, you will need your certificate of service and a copy of the notice before applying to the court for a possession order.
Section 8 notice:- seeking possession.
The requirements under section 8 are much stricter and a proper notice must be served. There are several grounds for seeking possession which the Court will consider, some of which are discretionary, but others are mandatory.
Notice to vacate can be between 2 weeks’ and 2 months’ depending on which terms of the tenancy have been broken and which grounds under section 8 you seek to rely upon.
You can apply to the court for a possession order if your tenants do not leave by the specified date. However, you cannot make an application to the court until after the notice period has expired.
We always recommend that you get legal advice before serving a Section 8 notice to ensure you are providing the correct notice period, you have referred to all of the correct grounds under the Housing Act and made arrangement for the proper service of the notice on your tenants.
Again, if your tenants do not leave by the specified date, you will need your certificate of service and copy notice before applying to the court for a possession order.
Here at Else Solicitors, we frequently act for Landlords that are looking to re-possess their properties. We quickly assess the issue and determine whether there are merits to proceed with either a Section 8 Notice or Section 21 Notice before advising and assisting our clients further.
Our clients are very grateful when they are able to put their properties back on the rental market and can start receiving rental income again.
If you are in need of assistance, please get in touch on 01283 526200 and let Else Solicitors help you get your property back.