As a landlord, you must follow strict procedures if you wish for a tenant to leave your property due to breaking the rules of their contract. If you do not, you may be considered guilty of illegally evicting or harassing your tenant. For example, a notice period. In England you must give you up to 2 months’ notice. During (COVID-19), the notice periods much longer.
So, what is the eviction process?
The eviction process can be considerably difficult sometimes and even a sensitive process. With this said there are many ways you can make sure the process is done fast and effectively to avoid it becoming complicated and long-winded. When it comes to the eviction process there are two types of notices you can issue; a Section 21 and Section 8.
A Section 21 is the first step a landlord takes to make a tenant leave their home. This does not mean that the tenant has to leave straight away. If Section 21 is valid the landlord will need to go to court to evict the tenant however this means the current tenant has the opportunity to challenge the landlord's eviction, so before going to court it would be considerably helpful to have a good case against your tenant.
So, what would help when issuing a Section 21 notice?
The quickest form of eviction is ‘accelerated possession’, which can take between 8-12 weeks. However, if you are seeking to reclaim unpaid rent, you should use the ‘standard possession’ procedure.
Before any eviction can take place, you must first serve a proper possession notice to your tenant. This must be properly drafted and include the correct notice period. You must wait until the notice period has expired before initiating court proceedings.
Make sure you can prove that your section 21 notice was served or your claim could be thrown out of court.
It’s imperative you obtain a court order for possession before proceeding to evict. If the tenant still fails to vacate, you must use County Court bailiffs to take possession of your property. It is a criminal offence to do otherwise and you could be tried for harassment.
Local authorities will often not re-house a tenant until a possession order has been made against them and the bailiffs have visited.
In comparison to a Section 21 notice, a Section 8 is most commonly served due to rent arrears.
To issue a Section 8 Notice as a landlord you must be able to show that your tenant breached the terms of their contract and must follow a procedure which involves getting a court order.
Here is a common list of errors to avoid when issuing a Section 8 notice;
Using an outdated form.
Failing to provide the full and proper address of the property on the form.
Forgetting to list every tenant on the form. This is a common mistake made for joint tenancies.
Not listing the ground/s for eviction exactly as set out in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988.