Evictions or disputes
Your tenants are protected under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, which makes it a criminal offence for you to evict them without following the correct legal procedure. The Act also makes it a criminal offence for you, your agent or any other person, to harass your tenant with the aim of making them leave your home. Landlords, if prosecuted, will be fined heavily by the court and in some cases may be given a custodial sentence.
If you would like advice on how to evict your tenant properly please contact us to discuss. In addition we may be able to help in different ways such the council clearing part of, or all of a tenants' rent arrears if you were willing to allow them to stay and it is affordable.
If you have a difficult tenant that you wish to evict you must go through the correct legal process and serve them with the appropriate notice. This will depend on the following:
- The length of time your tenant has lived at the property and the original period given on the agreement i.e. minimum of six months. To end a tenancy within the first six months of the tenancy, or the period given on the original agreement, you must serve a Section 8 Notice under the Housing Act 1988 and then proceed to court.
- When the assured shorthold period has ended the tenancy will automatically become a ‘statutory periodic tenancy’ which will run from each rental period. You must serve a minimum of two months notice (not eight weeks) requiring possession of the property. It must be served before the next rental period and come to an end at least two months later but on the day before the next rent would be due.
- If the tenant doesn’t leave then you must make an application to the county court for possession and give evidence. You may also make an application for costs incurred and loss of rent etc.
- If you operate a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) that isn’t licensed, or if you have not put your tenant’s deposit in a certified scheme, you will not be able to serve a valid notice to quit on your tenant.
Common examples of unlawful eviction include:
- Locking your tenant out
- Depriving your tenant of use of a room that is normally shared with other people e.g. kitchen or living room
- Depriving your tenant of part of the property as a consequence of building works
Unless you can prove that you have a good reason for doing so, it is an offence for you or your agents to:
- Interfere with the peace and comfort of your tenants
- Withdraw necessary services from people living in your property (necessary services include water, gas and electricity, or lifts in a block of flats)
- Act in such a way as to cause your tenants to leave your property or stop them from exercising their rights.
If a tenant alleges that you are harassing them, we will try to help resolve the differences between you and your tenant, if this is appropriate. If there is enough evidence, we may consider taking on a criminal prosecution and ask your tenant to attend court to give evidence. If the prosecution is successful you may be fined or imprisoned, resulting in a criminal record.
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