Evicting Tenants: Frequently Asked Questions

On this page we aim to answer the most common questions surrounding tenant eviction. Please do get in touch if you cannot see the answer to your question, our initial consultation is free and our fees are fixed for each stage of the process thereafter.

Please click a question to see the answer.

Frequently Asked Tenant Eviction Questions

Do I need a Court Order to evict my tenant?

Yes as it is a criminal offence to unlawfully evict a residential tenant without a Court order, always take legal advice before considering eviction without a Court order as the consequences can be severe and may result in a substantial fine or a term of imprisonment.

Do I need a tenancy agreement to obtain possession?

You do not need a tenancy agreement to obtain possession of your property using the Section 8 notice and standard possession proceedings; however without a tenancy agreement the terms of the agreement will be difficult to prove. The accelerated possession procedure following service of a section 21 notice cannot be used unless there is a tenancy agreement and therefore although a section 21 notice can be served, standard possession proceedings would have to be issued.

Can I instruct Solicitors4Landlords if I live outside of the UK?

Yes we deal with Landlords from all over the world and are happy to liaise with you or your letting agent. If you do not wish to return to the UK for the hearing we can prepare a witness statement for you to sign and return to us at an extra cost of £60.00 which will be served upon your tenant and filed at Court prior to the hearing.

Can I recover my property if I have not put the deposit in a scheme?

The current position is that a valid Section 21 notice cannot be served unless the deposit has been placed in an authorized scheme and therefore proceedings under the accelerated possession procedure cannot be issued.

However a landlord’s failure to pay the deposit into an authorized scheme does not affect their entitlement to serve a section 8 notice and issue standard possession proceedings. However landlords should be aware that the landlord’s failure may be raised in the court proceedings by the tenant with a request that sanctions be imposed. The sanctions the Court could impose are payment of between one to three times the amount of the rent deposit.
Landlords should therefore ensure that when they take a rent deposit they do all of following:-

  1. Pay the deposit into a prescribed scheme within 30 days of payment(link)
  2. Comply with the initial requirements of a scheme within 30 days of payment.
  3. Give the tenant the prescribed information relating to the deposit within 30 days of receiving the deposit.

I think my tenant has moved out what should I do?

You should attempt to make contact with your tenant to clarify the position. If you are unable to make contact you should send a notice to the tenant that you wish to inspect the property. If the tenant is still not in the property you should look at the general appearance of the property by looking through the letterbox and speak to neighbours to ascertain if they have seen your tenant. Strictly speaking you should not let yourself into the property or change the locks as this could be seen as unlawful eviction and your tenant could issue a claim for damages against you.

The correct way forward is to serve either a section 8 or section 21 notice and thereafter issue eviction proceedings. Always take legal advice from a Solicitor before considering taking possession without a court order.

Can you advise in respect of all tenancy agreements?

All tenancy agreements entered into after 28th February 1997 are automatically Assured Shorthold tenancies unless they were previously a secure tenancy or an assured tenancy. For clarification of the precise nature of the tenancy agreement and the most appropriate way of obtaining possession of your property contact us on 01455 553945

Who will deal with my case?

A qualified Solicitor will deal with your matter throughout the entire process, and will also be on hand to answer any queries you have. Other firms that offer this service can only serve the notices and then have to pass your matter to a firm of Solicitors of their choice as only Solicitors can issue the Court proceedings for you.

Why should I instruct Solicitors4Landlords?

We have over 20 years of experience of dealing with tenant evictions. We offer a quick cost effective fixed fee service to landlords with no hidden extras whilst maintaining a high standard of customer service and client care. We are also regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority which monitors the conduct of Solicitors resulting in a better quality of service to our clients.

How do I make payment of your charges?

We are happy to accept payment by credit card or debit card (link) or cheque or bank transfer.

What do your charges include, are there any hidden extras?

Our charges for stages 1, 2 and 3 of the process includes our fees and the court fees. We charge an extra £60 should you not wish to attend the Court hearing for preparation of a witness statement. However should the tenant file a defence and after the first hearing the matter become a defended action, further fees may be incurred.

What grounds can I use to evict my tenant?

The most common grounds used are Grounds 8, 10 and 11 of the Housing Act 1988, however please be aware that only ground 8 is a mandatory ground and upon proof of two months rent arrears the Court has no discretion but to make a possession order whereas under grounds 10 and 11 the Court has a discretion as to whether to make a possession order or suspended possession order upon a monthly payment of the arrears of rent.

Grounds 12 breach of a term of the tenancy agreement and Ground 14 Nuisance or annoyance or criminal conviction are also grounds we are often requested to include in notices and court proceedings. However both of these grounds are discretionary grounds and substantial evidence is required by the Court prior to making a possession order and therefore we do not recommend the same as costs can be considerable.

If the tenancy has come to an end and you merely wish to obtain possession of your property and do not wish to claim any rent arrears then we can use Sections 21(1)(b) or 21(4)(a) of the Housing Act, 1988 to obtain possession of your property followed if necessary by the issue of accelerated possession proceedings.

How do I evict my tenant?

Tenant eviction is a three stage process.

Stage 1

Firstly you need to serve the tenant with a notice; if they are 2 months in arrears of rent then we can serve a section 8 notice giving them two weeks to leave the property or pay the arrears failing which court proceedings can be issued.

If the tenant has breached any other term of the tenancy agreement then a section 8 notice can still be served, however should it be necessary to issue possession proceedings the District Judge who hears your case would have discretion as to whether or not to make a possession order. We would strongly advise you to take advice and consider all of the options available prior to serving a section 8 notice.

If the tenant is not in arrears and the tenancy has come to an end then a Section 21 notice can be served giving your tenant two months’ notice to vacate the property. If they do not leave then accelerated possession proceedings can be issued.

Stage 2

If the tenant does not vacate the property following service of either notice then Court proceedings will have to be issued.

If you have served a section 8 notice then standard possession proceedings can be issued. The court will allocate a hearing date and it will be necessary for you to attend court to give evidence as to the arrears or file a witness statement. We will request that the Court make a 14 day possession order, together with a county court judgment for the rent arrears, fixed costs and that the rent deposit be released to you.

Stage 3

After 14 days or the date set by the Court if the tenant has not left, then we can instruct the bailiff to remove your tenant from the property. The court will fix a time and date for the eviction and it will be necessary for you to attend with a locksmith and meet the bailiff.

Once your tenant has left the property you can then consider the rent deposit and enforcement action in respect of any judgment obtained. Part of our stage 3 service is advice concerning enforcement of the county court judgment.

Will my tenant leave after the service of the notice?

The good news is that over 50% of tenants leave after service of either the Section 8 or Section 21 notices which is the first stage of our process.

Do I need to attend Court and what happens?

It is always advisable to attend the Court hearing in case the tenant attends and raises any issues, however if you live abroad or are unable to attend the court hearing we can prepare a witness statement for you to sign and return to us for an additional fee of £60. The witness statement is served upon the tenant and filed at the Court before the hearing.

We are also happy for your letting agent to attend the hearing on your behalf to give evidence.

How long does the process take?

Stage 1

The Section 8 notice process takes 16 days. This gives the tenant 2 weeks to either pay the arrears of rent or leave the property.
The Section 21 notice process takes approximately two months after service on the tenant, however if the tenancy is a periodic tenancy this may be slightly longer.

Stage 2

Standard possession proceedings – The hearing date is usually between 4-8 weeks after issue of the proceedings, depending on the location of the Court, please note that the London Courts and Birmingham County Court may take longer.

Accelerated possession proceedings – There is no hearing for these proceedings however the Courts can take 4-6 weeks to serve and consider the application.

Stage 3

Warrant of Possession – eviction dates are usually between 2-4 weeks depending on the Court however once again the London Courts and Birmingham County Court have been known to take 8 weeks.

Can I inspect my property?

Most tenancy agreements contain a clause that allows the landlord to inspect the property upon giving reasonable notice, usually this is between 24-48 hours notice. Please check your tenancy agreement to ensure this clause is within your tenancy agreement as regular inspection of your property is essential.

Can I recover the arrears of rent outstanding?

If possession has been obtained under the Section 8 procedure, we will request that the Court make a possession order and a County Court judgment against the tenant for the arrears of rent. We will also request that any rent deposit within a scheme be released to you. Once you have obtained possession of your property and obtained the release of any rent deposit you will then be able to quantify the exact amount of the arrears. Thereafter we will be able to advise you how best to enforce the county court judgment obtained.