Can I serve section 21 to someone who is not present?
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by Readers Question

4 years ago

Can I serve section 21 to someone who is not present?

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Can I serve section 21 to someone who is not present?

I have a tennant who hasn’t been staying in a studio flat that I own for the last two months.

She as been with me for just over six month’s now .

Can I serve a section 21 to her still if she isn’t present and if so what do I do to enforce it and would I have to get a court order first?

Also what do I do with her belongings? 

Regards

Tony

Comments

Mark Alexander

4 years ago

Hi Tony

My first question would be, why do you want to serve section 21?

Is your tenant in arrears and if so by how much?

Second question, what was the term of the original tenancy?

The reason I'm asking these questions is to be able to advise you on which type of notice is the right one. There are two types of section 21 notice, both of which require at least two months notice. If the AST was for let's say 12 months then neither versions of section 21 might not be right way to go and you may be better off with a section 8 notice, especially if your tenant is two or more months in arrears. Note that the notice period for a section 8 notice is only two weeks.

Regardless of which notice is served, you will require a Court order to obtain possession.

Next question - are you in contact with the tenant? The reason I ask is that it may be cheaper for you to do a deal by giving her an incentive to grant you possession voluntarily.

Please answer these questions and I will be pleased to offer further guidance.

lauren field

4 years ago

Hi Tony

The short answer is yes, you can serve a section 21 notice. However, Mark is correct to ask for clarification in regards to the agreement

- "I have a tennant who hasn’t been staying in a studio flat that I own for the last two months." ---- How do you know she is definately not there?

-"She as been with me for just over six month’s now" .- as Mark says depends on length of agreement but yet if the agreement was for 6 months, you can now serve notice.

-"Can I serve a section 21 to her still if she isn’t present and if so what do I do to enforce it and would I have to get a court order first?" --- Yes, and yes to enforce it you do need an order from the court.

-"Also what do I do with her belongings? " - - you will need to store them for 3 months, forward them onto her or allow her her a time to collect them. After 3 months, if she has made no claim to them, then you can dispose of them.

David Sweeney

4 years ago

Do you think your tenant has moved? Is in hospital? Is in Prison?

If it is the first one, then that complicates matters. You see it is not an AST unless the tenant occupies the dwelling-house as his only or principal home. An absence of 2 months casts doubt on that. If it is not an AST then 'section 21' is not the right way forward, as non of the 1988 Housing Act applies.

Problem is - you don't know the status of the tenancy until the tenant gets in touch or argues it in court! If the tenant doesn't flag it as a problem, then the chances are a judge would waive it through.

However, for a belt and braces approach I would serve a section 21 notice that complies with the relevant subsection AND complies with the requirements of the tenancy agreement for a NTQ. If the tenant defends the possession claim because you have followed the 'incorrect' route, you still have a chance of the judge using his discretion if all other options have been covered. For extra safety, I would commence the court process using the non-accelerated route, with that you can claim possession on multiple grounds so cover both options.

David Brown

4 years ago

Unless the tenant had informed you of her new address a judge should accept proof of posting (free from Post Office) to her at the studio flat, proof of receipt should not be required, you would also need to complete a certificate of service (form N215) when you apply to the court, and provide it to the court and serve it on the tenant (in the same way).

marc lefeuvre

A year ago

Hi Mark Alexander, I'm a new landlord and looking for a bit of advice? in regards to not renewing the tenants contract, and have sent (recorded delivery) a section 21. In the section 21 it stated that I will give the 2 months notice that' will run out 6th of April but I'm scared this wont matter to the tenants that at are currently staying in my house, and are looking to stay there till the end. I currently haven't received any rent for well over 4 months and finding it hard to keep up the monthly mortgage payments. Looking forwarding to hearing from you.

Mark Alexander

A year ago

Reply to the comment left by "marc lefeuvre" at "28/03/2016 - 00:27":

You need to seek professional advice. Have a look at our legal section and in particular the Evicting Tenants link.
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