A guide to evicting a tenant in the UK: A landlord’s perspective


Evicting a tenant is a complex and sensitive process that requires landlords to navigate through a web of legal requirements and considerations.

In the UK, the eviction process is governed by a set of rules and regulations designed to protect the rights of both landlords and tenants.

Understanding the tenancy agreement

It’s crucial to understand the tenancy agreement that governs the relationship between the landlord and the tenant. The tenancy agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the rental arrangement. It includes the duration of the tenancy, rent amount, and any specific rules or obligations.

Most tenancies in the UK fall into two categories: assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) and assured tenancies. ASTs are the most common type and provide landlords with a simplified process for eviction. However, it’s important to note that not all tenancies are ASTs, and some properties may fall under different rules.

Grounds for eviction

Landlords in the UK can only evict tenants on specific grounds defined by law. The grounds for eviction can be broadly categorised into two types: mandatory and discretionary.

Mandatory grounds:

  1. Non-payment of rent: If a tenant fails to pay rent, it constitutes a clear ground for eviction. Landlords must follow specific procedures, including serving a notice and obtaining a possession order.
  2. Breach of tenancy agreement: If the tenant violates the terms of the tenancy agreement, such as causing damage to the property or engaging in illegal activities, the landlord may have grounds for eviction.
  3. End of fixed-term tenancy: When an AST reaches the end of its fixed term, landlords can regain possession of the property without providing a specific reason. However, proper notice must be given.
  4. Mortgage repossession: If the property is subject to a mortgage and the mortgage lender seeks possession, the landlord may need to evict the tenant.

    Discretionary grounds:

  1. Persistent late payment: While non-payment of rent is a mandatory ground, persistent late payment can be discretionary. Landlords may need to provide evidence of repeated late payments.
  2. Nuisance or antisocial behaviour: If the tenant engages in behaviour that causes a nuisance or disrupts the peace, the landlord may have grounds for eviction.
  3. Subletting without permission: If the tenant sublets the property without the landlord’s consent, it can be grounds for eviction.
  4. Sale of the property: If the landlord intends to sell the property with vacant possession, they may have grounds for eviction. However, specific procedures must be followed.

Notifying the tenant

Before initiating the formal eviction process, landlords must provide the tenant with notice. The type of notice required depends on the grounds for eviction.

  1. Section 8 notice: This notice is used when evicting a tenant on discretionary grounds. It specifies the grounds for eviction and gives the tenant a set period to rectify the issue or vacate the property.
  2. Section 21 notice: For mandatory grounds, such as the end of a fixed-term tenancy, landlords can use a Section 21 notice. This notice requires the tenant to vacate the property after a specified period, typically two months.

It’s crucial to ensure that the notice is correctly drafted, including all necessary information and complying with legal requirements. Failure to provide proper notice can lead to delays in the eviction process.

Applying for a possession order

If the tenant fails to comply with the eviction notice, the next step is applying for a possession order from the court. The type of possession order required depends on the circumstances.

  1. Standard possession order: This is the most common type of possession order and is used for mandatory grounds, such as the end of a fixed-term tenancy.
  2. Accelerated possession order: This expedited process is available for landlords seeking possession on the basis of a Section 21 notice. It does not involve a court hearing but is subject to certain conditions, such as proper notice and documentation.
  3. Possession order with money judgement: In cases where the landlord is also seeking unpaid rent, a possession order with a money judgement may be necessary.

Attending a court hearing

For possession orders involving discretionary grounds, the landlord may need to attend a court hearing. During the hearing, both parties will have the opportunity to present their case, and the judge will determine whether to grant the possession order.

It’s essential for landlords to prepare thoroughly for the hearing, bringing all relevant documents and evidence to support their case. This may include the tenancy agreement, rent payment records, and any correspondence with the tenant.

Executing the possession order

Once the possession order is granted, the landlord can take steps to regain possession of the property. If the tenant refuses to leave voluntarily, the landlord may need to involve court bailiffs to enforce the order.

It’s important to note that landlords cannot take matters into their own hands by forcibly removing the tenant or changing the locks. Doing so can lead to legal consequences and potential counterclaims from the tenant.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)

In some cases, landlords and tenants may opt for alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, to resolve issues without going through the formal eviction process. Mediation can be a cost-effective and faster way to address disputes, allowing both parties to reach a mutually agreeable solution.

It’s worth considering ADR before pursuing court proceedings, as it may help preserve the landlord-tenant relationship and avoid the time and expense associated with legal action.


Evicting a tenant in the UK is a complex process that requires careful adherence to legal procedures. From understanding the grounds for eviction to serving proper notices and obtaining possession orders, landlords must navigate the legal landscape with precision and diligence.

While the eviction process can be challenging, it’s crucial for landlords to prioritise communication, document all interactions with the tenant, and seek legal advice when needed. By following the correct procedures and respecting the rights of both parties, landlords can navigate the eviction process successfully and protect their investment.

Warrant of Possession – the final stage of the tenant eviction process

As part of our stage 3 process we can issue a warrant of possession on behalf of the Landlord.

Upon the issue of the warrant of possession the court will allocate a date and will inform both ourselves and the tenant of the eviction date.

Should there be any concerns that the bailiffs will be met with threats of violence upon the tenant’s eviction we should inform the court of this when we confirm the eviction appointment.  The court will then make arrangement s for either a number of bailiffs to attend or for the police to be in attendance.

On the date of the tenant’s eviction the Landlord should attend with a locksmith and meet the bailiff at the appointed time.  Usually the tenant will have vacated, however if the tenant has not left the bailiff  will either ask them to leave the property immediately and take possession or will return later in the day by which time the tenant should have left.

Landlords should be aware that the county court bailiff will not enforce any county court judgment at the same time and therefore further enforcement action will be necessary.

Landlords should also be aware that a tenant can apply for the warrant of possession to be suspended at any time before the eviction date when the court will set the matter down for a hearing.  This will be the case even if possession has been obtained using mandatory ground 8 or via the accelerated possession procedure.

We at Solicitors4landlords will assist the Landlord in opposing any application to suspend a warrant of possession and will also apply to the Court for an order that the tenant pays the landlord’s additional costs.

Should you have any queries in respect of this or any tenant eviction matter please do not hesitate to call us on 01455 553945

Want to evict a tenant? – further considerations

In order to evict a tenant you must either serve a section 8 or section 21 notice.  When serving either of these notices it is important to check the provisions contained within the tenancy agreement regarding service of notices and then follow these provisions.

Section 8(1) (a) of the Housing Act, 1988 states that the notice must be “served on the tenant” however no further guidelines are given.

It is important to check to see if section 196 of the Law of Property Act, 1925 is mentioned with the tenancy agreement.

Section 196 itself states that notices will be served properly if :-

a. Left at the last known address of the tenant.

b. It is left for the tenant i.e. put through the letter box or affixed to the door.

c.It is sent by registered letter i.e. recorded delivery and is not returned as undelivered.

If there are no express provisions in the tenancy agreement regarding service, then the landlord must prove that the notice has been received by the tenant.

In respect of recorded delivery, we at Solicitors4landlords have found that tenants, especially difficult tenants, will not accept service or never collect the letter, which is then returned as undelivered.

In the circumstances we serve notices by first class post and recorded delivery if specifically requested by the landlord.  In addition we always provide a copy to the landlord and request that the landlord attend at the property and personally serve the notice or post it through the letter box with an independant witness.  As an alternative we can arrange personal service by an enquiry agent however this may cost in the region of £100 plus vat.

Should it be necessary to issue possession proceedings following expiry of either notices in order to evict a tenant proof of service of the notices is submitted to the court by way of a certificate of service.  These are prepared and filed at Court by Solicitors4landlords and are part of our stage 2 fee.

We at Solicitors4landlords will always discuss service of notices with you upon instructions.  For further details call us on 01455 553945.


Tenant Eviction Pitfalls

All Landlords and their Agents need to be aware of the Landlord & Tenant Act, 1987 and the repercussions upon the tenant eviction process should they fail to comply with section 48.

Firstly Section 48 applies where the premises consist of or include a dwelling, so it applies to all residential landlords.

Section 48(1) of the act provides that a landlord of premises to which this part applies shall by notice furnish the tenant with an address in England and Wales at which notices (including notice of proceedings) may be served on him by the tenants.

Section 48(2) provides that “where a landlord of any such premises fails to comply with Sub Section (1) any rent otherwise due from the tenant to the landlord shall be treated for all purposes as not being due from the tenant at any time before the landlord does comply with the sub section.

This effectively means that until a section 48 notice is served rent is not payable and not lawfully due unless the landlord has given an address for service of notices in accordance with the act.

In the circumstances prior to service of either a sectio 8 or a section 21 notice it is imperative to check and see whether either a section 48 notice has been served or whether this is incorporated in the tenancy agreement.  Many tenancy agreements do contain this information but not all, and we have also seen cases where although it is mentioned the address has not been inserted.

Should a section 8 notice be served and  court proceedings issued and no section 48 notice served the rent would not be lawfully due and therefore the tenant could apply to have the claim struck out on this basis.  Unfortunately the landlord would not be able to serve a corrective section 48 notice.  The only solution would be to discontinue the existing court proceedings and possibly face costs penalties, and the serve a section 48 notice and a fresh section 8 notice and then issue fresh possession proceedings.

Landlords and Agents should also be aware that section 47 of LTA 1o87 requires the landlord’s name and address to be given on all demands for rent or any other sums payable under the tenancy.  Howevwer this will not satisfy the requirements of section 48.

Section 48 notices do not have to be served personally on the tenant delivery by post should be sufficient to meet the requirements that the landlord furnishes the tenant with the information by notice.

We at Solicitors4Landlords always check that a section 48 notice has been given and should it have not then we serve a section 48 notice prior to the section 8/21 at no additional cost.



Are you having problems obtaining repayment of the rent deposit from a scheme following the Court making a tenant eviction possession order?

If so, the TDS (mydeposit.co.uk) has recently clarified its position and we would add that the DPS also require the following:-

If the final tenant eviction court order contains a judgment and clearly sets out what the judgment is for i.e. rent arrears of damages to property and also directs the TDS to make payment from the deposit they will release the deposit as long as no schedule of repayment has been agreed with the tenant.

They have also indicated that should the eviction court order not contain a specific direction for the TDS to release the deposit they will still consider releasing the deposit if the Court order is a final order, and no schedule of repayment has been agreed and the tenancy agreement permits the deposit to be used for the purposes of the judgment in a court order.

However should there be any dispute in respect of the tenancy deposit then they will not release the deposit until the matter has been resolved by either them or the Courts.

Should you have obtained a final tenant eviction court order without a direction that the deposit be released by the TDS  and your tenancy agreement does not contain the clause mentioned above then you must either further apply to the Court for a direction that the deposit be released by the TDS or enforce the judgment you have obtained by way of a third party debt order.

As part of the service we offer to Solicitors4Landlords Ltd we always request at the final possession hearing that the tenancy deposit be released to the Landlord.  Should you have any further questions or problems in respect of tenant eviction please call us on 01455 553945 or 07746 438 474

Rent Deposit remainder

Remainder to all Landlords that since the 6th April, 22012 should you take a rent deposit from your tenant you must do the following or face difficulties should you wish to issue tenant eviction proceedings:-

a. Pay the deposit into a prescribed scheme within 30 days of payment.

b Comply with the initial requirerments of the scheme you are using within 30 days of payment.  Please refer to the terms and conditions of the scheme.

c. Give the tenant the prescribed information relating to the deposit within 30 days of receiving the deposit.

There are two prescribed schemes.

a. The custodial scheme, where a Landlord pays the money into the scheme – for more information contact The Deposit Protection Service.  This service is free to Landlords.

b. An insurabce scheme, where the Landlord retains the depsoit until the end of the tenancy – for more information contact Tenancy Deposit Solutions (My/deposit).  This service charges a fee for each rent deposit.

The consequences of not protecting the rent deposit are:-

a. Any section 21 eviction notice will be invalid.

b. The tenant can apply to the court for an award of between one to three times the rent deposit plus the return of the deposit and

c. The tenant could file a counterclaim to any tenant eviction proceedings issued for rent arrears and effectively wipe out the arrears of rent.

What can a Landlord do if he has failed to pay the deposit into a Scheme:-

a.Return the deposit to the tenant as soon as possible or

b. Pay the deposit into a prescribed scheme immediately.  Although the Court of Appeal case of Tiensia will no longer assist a Landlord who has not protected the deposit, paying the deposit into a scheme will hopefully assist in persuading the Court that the penalty should be reduced to only one times the rent deposit should the tenant make a claim.

Should you have any further questions, please contact us on 01455 553945 or 07746 438 474 and speak to a tenant eviction solicitor who will be able to assist you with any tenant eviction problems you may have.