Landlords can unfortunately find themselves in the situation where a residential tenant is in occupation of their property but they have failed to pay the rent, or paid it late. In such circumstances a landlord is well advised to seek prompt professional advice to discuss the best method of evicting their tenant and recovering payment of the arrears of rent owing to them. We have a specialist team of property litigation solicitors at Grant Saw who are able to provide assistance to landlords seeking repossession.
Why (or when) would someone require this service?
A landlord will require this service when a tenant has fallen behind with payment of their rent and the landlord wishes to evict the tenant due to this breach. In such circumstances we will request on behalf of the landlord that the court orders possession of the property as well as an order that the tenant pays the arrears of rent owing.
Below is a summary of the procedure required to evict a tenant who is in arrears of rent based on a property being rented out under an assured shorthold tenancy agreement. This is the most common form of tenancy agreement although there are other types of agreements in existence.
How does the process work/what are the steps involved?
If the tenant has fallen into arrears of rent and the landlord wishes to evict the tenant, the first step is to serve a Notice on the tenant informing them of this. This is known as a Section 8 Notice (Notice pursuant to Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988).
Once the Section 8 Notice has been served, the tenant must be allowed a period of at least 14 days in which to make payment of the arrears of rent to the tenant. If the tenant fails to do this, then the landlord is entitled to proceed to issue possession proceedings at court to evict the tenant.
Once issued the court will list the matter for a hearing. We will ordinarily arrange for the landlord to be represented at the court hearing (normally via the attendance of a barrister).
Assuming that the proceedings are uncontested and that at the time that the Section 8 Notice was served and at the date of the court hearing there are at least two months arrears of rent owing to the landlord; the court will order the tenant to vacate the property and will also require the tenant to pay the landlord the arrears of rent owing. If there are less than two months rent owing the court will have discretion as to whether to award possession of the property to the landlord or not. Where the court does have discretion, it could consider awarding a suspended possession order instead to the landlord. This would allow the tenant to remain living at the property provided that payment of future rent was paid on time and the arrears cleared by the tenant.
If the court does order the tenant to provide the landlord with possession of the property, it will normally allow the tenant a further period of fourteen days within which to vacate the property. If the tenant fails to abide by the court order, then the landlord is entitled to seek to apply to the court bailiff for assistance to remove the tenant from the property.
If the tenant fails to pay the landlord the arrears of rent owing, then we can advise separately as to the various methods of enforcement available to the landlord for enforcement of the monetary sum.
How long does it take?
Once court proceedings are issued, the court will normally list the court hearing to take place within eight to ten weeks thereafter.
The court will ordinarily provide the tenant with a period of fourteen days from the making of the court order to vacate the property. If the tenant does not vacate the property during this period of time, then the landlord will need to seek the assistance from a court bailiff to remove the tenant from the property. This could take an additional four to six weeks to be attended to.
Is it expensive? What are the likely costs?
We offer a fixed price for acting for uncontested residential possession cases. Please contact us for more information.
What are the things that people should consider before calling?
Landlords should ensure that they are clear as to the current level of rental arrears. Landlords should also have available the current tenancy agreement for consideration.
Why are Grant Saw the best people for the job?
We have successfully provided assistance to landlords for many years in recovering possession of their properties.
This is a specialist area and there are many pitfalls. It is best practice to instruct solicitors who have expertise in this subject area, such as Grant Saw Solicitors. A technical error in procedure can lead to months of delay and potentially wasted costs to landlords.
Evicting a tenant due to arrears of rent myth busting
That the landlord can take matters into their own hands and physically evict their tenant without involving the court. This is incorrect and illegal.
Landlords must obtain a court order in order to evict their tenant (unless the tenant agrees to voluntarily vacate the property beforehand). Furthermore, once a court order for possession has been obtained, the landlord must again seek assistance from a court bailiff in order to remove the tenant from the property (if the tenant refuses to vacate) and must not attend to this themselves.