Can I evict a tenant myself?You can, but it's not simply a case of turning up, banging on the door and demanding they leave.
The process of evicting a tenantThe first thing to state here is the process to evict a tenant is not always particularly quick. But this will largely depend on the reasons for starting the eviction process.
The first thing to do is decide on the appropriate notice to serve to your tenant:
Section 21 notice
This informs the tenant that you wish to regain possession of the property at the end of an agreed fixed-term tenancy or an agreed break clause.
You don't have to provide a reason for issuing this notice, but you do have to give the tenant at least two months' notice. This notice cannot be used as a claim for rent arrears.
Changes to the Deregulation Act 2015 mean that, since October 1 2018, landlords issuing section 21 notices:
* Can't do so within the first four months of the tenancy agreement
* Must be aware that a section 21 notice expires after six months
* Should be aware that failing to deal with a tenant complaint that results in a housing authority notice will mean any section 21 notice issued after that will be invalid
* Must have issued a valid gas safety certificate, energy performance certificate (EPC) and a copy of the government's How To Rent guide to all tenants
Landlords should also be aware that:
* Section 21 notices will not be able to be issued if a landlord or managing agent charges any of the banned tenant fees under the Tenant Fees Bill after June 1 2019
Tips: Ensure you correctly specify the required date of possession and make sure this gives at least two months' notice to the tenant.
Always try to accommodate the needs of the tenant and be reasonable and if your tenant doesn't want to leave, don't respond in a way that could be classed as harassment.
Section 8 notice
A section 8 notice is issued when a tenant has breached a term, or terms, of their tenancy agreement.
The most common reasons for issuing a section 8 notice are:
* Unpaid rent
* Damage to the property
The reason for seeing a section 8 notice must be clearly stated and the tenant given between two weeks and two months' notice depending on the terms breached.
A section 8 notice acts as notice for the tenant to bring any rent arrears up-to-date or a possession order for the property will follow alongside a monetary judgment for the remaining arrears.
Tips: Even if your tenant has breached the terms of their agreement, if the agreement is nearing the end of its fixed term, it could be better to hold on and issue a section 21 notice instead as possession is mandatory and the tenant is not able to lodge a defense.
Section 21 or section 8: Which is better?Firstly, a section 8 can only be issued if your tenant has breached the terms of the tenancy agreement, while a section 21 can only be issued once the initial fixed term of the tenancy has expired.
Evict a tenant using accelerated possessionIf your tenant refuses to leave once either your section 21 or section 8 notice has been served, you can make a possession order.
The kind of possession order you use will depend on which notice your tenant was issued with.
If you served a section 21 notice on your tenant and they remain in the property after the two-month notice period, there is a written tenancy agreement and no rent arrears, you can use the accelerated possession order.
Standard possession procedureThis is the process used after you have issued a section 8 notice to your tenant and wish to regain possession of the property as well as claiming for rent arrears.
It can also be used alongside a section 21 notice, but no claim for unpaid rent can be made.
A court order to evict a tenantUnder successful accelerated possession, you should get an order for possession without a court hearing.
For standard possession, if your case goes to court, a judge could make one of the following decisions:
* Dismiss the case
* Adjourn the hearing
* Outright possession order (tenant must leave by a date set or face a warrant for possession)
* Suspended possession order (tenant can remain under certain conditions, i.e clearing rent arrears)
* Money order (tenant must make a certain payment or face bailiff action)
How long does it take to evict a tenantAgain, this depends on which process you go through as a landlord.
The accelerated procedure is slightly disingenuous in that it can still take between six and 10 weeks from starting proceedings to receipt of a possession order.
Cost of a court order to evict a tenantAn accelerated possession order that doesn't end up in a court hearing costs a fixed fee of £355.
A standard possession procedure costs the same, although there are occasions when the standard procedure can be started online for a cost of £325.
How to evict a tenant without a tenancy agreementMost tenancies in the UK now are Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements, but there are still scenarios where landlords do not have a written agreement with a tenant or are unsure if they do.
The first thing to establish is whether you have a tenancy agreement. If a tenancy runs on after the initial fixed term and becomes a periodic tenancy, the original agreement is still in force.
However, if this is not the case and you simply shook hands with your tenant and agreed a monthly rent, you can still evict them using a section 21 notice.
The accelerated procedure, though, is not available in this scenario and a court hearing will be required.