Honourable and personal residential letting experts

3Jul

Important steps and tips for evicting a tenant

As a landlord, there may come a time when you need to evict a tenant. Handling this process correctly is crucial to avoid legal complications. Here are some key steps and tips to guide you through the tenant eviction process in England.

Communicate with your tenant

Talk to your tenant:

Before taking any legal action, try to resolve disputes directly with your tenant. Discuss the issues and see if you can reach an agreement on moving out or repaying rent arrears.

Keep records:

Document all communications and agreements in writing. Follow up on phone calls or in-person meetings with an email summarizing what was discussed and agreed upon.

Notice of service:

If you serve a notice, keep a record of the date, and ask the tenant to sign a receipt. Alternatively, complete Form N215: Certificate of Service, or write ‘served by [your name] on [the date]’ on the notice. This documentation will be essential if you need to apply for a possession order.

Choosing the right eviction process

In England, there are two main types of notices for terminating a tenancy:

Section 21 Notice

When to use:

Use a Section 21 notice if you want your property back after the fixed term ends or during a periodic tenancy.

Notice period:

You must give at least two months’ notice.

Restrictions:

You cannot serve a Section 21 notice within the first four months of the tenancy or if you have received an improvement notice from the council within the last six months.

Requirements:

Ensure you have provided the tenant with an up-to-date Gas Safety Certificate, Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), tenancy deposit prescribed information, and a copy of the Government’s How to Rent Guide. Also, make sure the property has the necessary licenses.

Section 8 Notice

When to use:

Use a Section 8 notice if the tenant has broken the terms of the tenancy agreement.

Form:

Serve this notice using Form 3, available on the Government website.

Grounds for eviction:

You must specify the grounds for eviction, which are categorised into mandatory (grounds 1–8) and discretionary (grounds 9–17).

Avoiding common pitfalls

Fulfil your obligations:

Ensure all landlord obligations, such as maintenance, are upheld during the notice period. Neglecting these duties can lead to legal action against you.

Do not change locks:

Changing the locks without notice before the tenant vacates the property is a criminal offense that could result in substantial fines or imprisonment.

Do not remove tenant’s belongings:

Removing or holding a tenant’s belongings due to unpaid rent is illegal and could lead to prosecution.

Do not shut off utilities:

Shutting off gas, water, or electricity is a serious offence and can result in criminal action.

Red corded telephone

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that the eviction process is handled legally and professionally. If you have any particular issues you would like to discuss with one our lettings experts, you can book a complimentary advice call.