In Rocket Lawyer’s #HowDoI series, I’ll give you step-by-step instructions to solve common legal issues many people have.
In #HowDoI evict my tenants, I’ll set out how landlords can legally evict tenants.
Step 1: Make sure you complete the right notice
In most situations it’s easier to serve a section 21 notice, if you can. This depends on when the tenancy will end. However if the tenancy is a long way from ending and the tenant has, for example, caused damage or not paid rent, you can use a section 8 notice. Section 8 notices require you to submit proof of the tenant’s breach of the tenancy agreement and apply to court for a possession order.
Step 2: Check that you have fulfilled your legal obligations
Evicting tenants is not as simple as serving an eviction notice. There are legal requirements before a tenant can be served with an eviction notice.
For properties in England and Wales, you’ll need to have protected the tenant’s deposit (if you took one) in one of three government approved schemes. You must also serve the tenant with the prescribed information relating to their deposit. For further information read Tenancy deposit schemes and Prescribed information for tenancy deposits.
You must give the tenant an up-to-date copy of the Energy Performance Certificate and gas safety certificate. For properties in England, landlords must give tenants a copy of the government’s booklet on “How to Rent: a checklist for renting in England”.
In Wales, landlords have a mandatory obligation to register with Rent Smart Wales. They must also register the property they intend to rent out. The landlord must obtain a licence (if they self-manage) or appoint a licensed letting agent.
Step 3: Calculate the notice period
For section 21 notices you must give at least two month’s notice to your tenants. Bear in mind that you must wait until the end of the fixed-term of the tenancy before you can gain possession of the property. In England, the section 21 notice can’t be served within the first four months of the tenancy.
The notice period in a section 8 notice may differ depending on what grounds the landlord is relying on. For example Ground 8, 10 and 11 (rent arrears) has a two week notice period, whereas other grounds have a two month notice period.
Step 4: Serve the notice
The next step is to serve the notice on the tenant. You must get proof that the notice has been served. The notice is only served when the tenant is deemed to have received it. The time the notice takes to get to the tenant is not included in the two month period. You may need to allow extra time for delivery.
Step 5: Wait until the notice period has expired
If the tenants haven’t left by the end of the notice period you can apply to court for a possession order. You must wait until the notice period in the eviction notice has passed before you can go to court. If you apply to court before the expiry date, the court will not grant you an order and you’ll have to re-do the eviction process from the beginning.
Ask a lawyer if you have any further questions on eviction notices.
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