An “eviction” is a legal proceeding by which the landlord seeks to reclaim the premises, causing the tenant to vacate.
Evicting tenants can be costly, lengthy and complicated situation, so I suggest you take up yoga during this ordeal to gain discipline and self-control.
There are a lot of professional companies out there that will actually handle the eviction for you (for a fee, of course). You can go to the Tenant Eviction Services page for a list of professional eviction companies. If you don’t want to go for that option, you can follow the eviction process independently, but make sure you follow the legal procedure, because it is a criminal offence for a landlord to evict a tenant without doing so. Using improper methods to evict tenants can actually do more harm than good, and you could be deemed liable to criminal prosecution.
A landlord only has a right to evict where the agreement with the tenant contains such a right, and/or where the landlord is able to rely on one of the ‘statutory grounds for possession’. You can read more about the specific grounds for eviction here.
Steps for evicting tenants:
Step 1 – ask nicely
Before going in all guns blazing, it’s always worth trying the diplomatic approach. Simply ask the tenant to leave and explain your reasons for your request.
You could be surprised, your tenant maybe willing to vacate your property willingly. If your tenant agrees, make sure he/she signs a document clarifying the agreement.
Step 2 – consider your options
There are several ways of ending a tenancy, some methods are more elegant and straight forward than others- it doesn’t need to be a messy or an aggressive affair. Here’s a more in-depth article on how to end a tenancy agreement, which runs through a few of the options available.
Step 3 – serve a valid possession notice
Failing the diplomatic approach, you should serve a valid possession notice (assuming you have grounds for eviction). The landlord or the landlord’s representative (e.g. letting agent) should serve a Section 8 Notice, citing the relevant grounds for possession listed in Schedule II of the Act.
A section 8 is typically enough to force the tenant to surrender the tenancy, so court action is not required. Approximately 80% of tenants leave after being served notice.
Please note, failure to serve this notice correctly may delay the repossession and it is wise to consult a professional to advise you or do this for you.
Step 4 – getting a court order:
Once the Section 8 notice has expired and if the tenant has not paid you the rent due or moved out of your property, you may apply for a hearing at a County Court. For more information on arranging a hearing at a county court, please go to the County Court HMCS page.
Step 5 – get the bailiffs involved
Having won the repossession order in court, most tenants will vacate your property as instructed. However, if they do not, you must arrange for Court Bailiffs to remove your tenant.
- If your tenant has fallen into arrears, and provided you win your case, you should get what is owed, included the costs of going to court and possibly further compensation. However, if your tenant is not working, you could well find that he/she is permitted to pay the money back over some ridiculous length of time, with the potential for further defaults along the way.
- If you decide to use a professional company to evict your tenant, make sure you are aware of the ALL costs.
- Make sure that you serve written notice correctly and that you follow all the correct procedures. If there are extenuating circumstances, like the property is in poor order, this may weaken your court claim.
- If you are in a position where you need to evict a tenant, you should consult a solicitor or legal body before taking any action. Even if you are relying on one of the grounds for possession that entitle you to a possession order as of right, the court will expect you to follow the correct procedure.
- Judges dislike evicting tenants and will not do so if the landlord has not got his paperwork in order. It is very easy for someone who is unfamiliar with the process to misunderstand the rules and get things wrong.