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A Landlord’s Guide to Evicting Residential Tenants

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More information about HCE Group can be found at their website, hcegroup.co.uk or call them on 08450 999666.

Renting out residential property can be a sound way to ensure a regular return on income and works well when both landlord and tenant abide by the terms of the rental agreement.

However, serious problems can arise if tenants get into rent arrears or refuse to vacate the premises when required to do so under the terms of their contract. Here is some guidance as to how to proceed if you have tenants in breach of their tenancy agreement or are outstaying their welcome:

To regain possession of the property, a landlord must follow four steps:

  • Prepare and personally serve a notice to end the tenancy agreement;
  • Issue possession proceedings at the County Court;
  • Obtain a court order for possession;
  • Obtain possession – eviction of the tenant.

The possession proceedings depend on the type of tenancy agreement and its terms. Assured shorthold tenancies can be either “periodic” with no fixed end date, or “fixed-term” that run for a set amount of time.  If a tenant has this type of tenancy. a landlord must:

1. Give their tenants a Section 21 notice if they want the property back after the fixed term ends or a Section 8 notice if they have broken the terms of the tenancy.  In Wales, landlords cannot use a Section 21 notice if:

  • It is less than four months since the tenancy started, or the fixed term has not ended, unless there is a clause in the contract allowing the landlord to do this;
  • The property is categorised as a “House in Multiple Occupation” (“HMO”) and does not have an HMO licence from the council;
  • The tenancy started after April 2007 and the landlord has not put the tenants’ deposit in a deposit protection scheme;
  • The tenancy started after November 2016 and the landlord does not have a landlord licence.

In Wales, landlords must explain in writing that they are serving an eviction notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1998.

2. Apply to the court for a “standard possession order” if the tenants do not leave by the date specified and they owe rent.  Landlords can apply for an “accelerated possession order’ if they are not claiming any unpaid rent.

3. Apply for a “warrant for possession” if the tenants still refuse to leave, meaning bailiffs can remove the tenants from the property.

Standard possession orders can be applied for online, which costs £325 but there are some kinds of standard possession orders that require a paper claim form to be completed where, for example, there has been trespass onto the property or the tenants have broken the terms of the lease.  An accelerated possession order costs £355 and can be applied for if the tenants have not left the premises by the date specified in the landlord’s Section 21 notice and there are no rent arrears to claim.

If the prospect of evicting tenants seems daunting, High Court Enforcement Group can assist, but can only proceed if a Possession Order has been obtained and the County Court has given permission for the matter to be enforced in the High Court.

If the landlord did not apply under Section 42(2) of the County Court Act 1984 to give the County Court the power to transfer proceedings to the High Court, HCE Group can also assist with the completion of the application.  Alternatively, landlords can make the application themselves on form N244.

If the Court grants permission for the matter to be enforced in the High Court, HCE Group can transfer the order and obtain a Writ of Possession, allowing them to evict the tenant.

More information about HCE Group can be found at their website, hcegroup.co.uk or call them on 08450 999666.

For UK government guidance about evicting tenants, with useful links, including a link to the possession claim online service, visit www.gov.uk/evicting-tenants.