How do I get rid of my bad tenant?

How do I get rid of my bad tenant?

11:04 AM, 14th February 2012, About 12 years ago 17

Text Size

That is a question that I am asked by landlords all the time and I am pleased when they ask me because it means that they do not intend to “send the boys round”. These landlords want to remove unwanted tenants legally so I am always happy to explain the process of either Section 21 or Section 8 – the only two legal methods of removing reluctant tenants.

One landlord told me that he had served a Section 21 notice but that the tenant did not move out!

Bless him, he genuinely thought that if he served the notice the tenant would just move out. He was staggered when I told him that tenants are always given advice to stay until the Bailiff comes and that he needed to get the court to enforce his notice.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) have warned “Unemployment in the UK could reach 2.85 million by the end of 2012 as the jobs market faces its most difficult quarter since the recession”, this means that more landlords will be faced with tenants who can no longer pay their rent. They may be entitled to LHA (housing benefit) but recent changes have reduced the level of benefit support and the money they get is unlikely to cover all of their rent. Landlords have just two weeks to help to increase the level of LHA a tenant will get in their area, take a few minutes to do this before the end of February as the rate for March & April will be set and we will no longer have the opportunity to influence it.

It’s vitally important to protect your tenants deposit in the first 30 days as it will mean that you cannot serve a Section 21 notice unless you return the full deposit to them first. They may owe you rent, they may have caused damage but you will have to choose whether to cover those costs or remove the tenant if it happens after a fixed period or after the first six months.

I always tell landlords to think hard before making a decision to remove a tenant who has previously been a good tenant. People who have always worked will want to get back into work and if you can give them some time, perhaps at a reduced rent, you will remove the pressure from them at a time when they need to concentrate on finding another job. I realise that not all landlords are in a position to do this but remember the next tenant is an unknown quantity and you may end up in a worse situation.

Share This Article


Mary Latham

11:52 AM, 14th February 2012, About 12 years ago

They may owe you rent, they may have caused damage but you will have to choose whether to cover those costs or remove the tenant if it happens AFTER a fixed period or the first six months.

Tessa Shepperson

17:27 PM, 14th February 2012, About 12 years ago

Sometimes there is no option.  For example I have often acted in evictions when the tenant needs a possession order before the Local Authority will rehouse them.

Any landlords needing to evict their tenants can do it themselves using my do it yourself guides - these are free for +Plus members of my Landlord Law site:

Its best to do it yourself without any sort of guidance as it is easy to go wrong and you could end up losing the case  - even though you thought you had done everything you needed - just because you got your paperwork wrong. 

11:19 AM, 15th February 2012, About 12 years ago

And generating a Section 21 notice has it's own pitfalls there is a free to use tool in the Property118 Due Dilligence section to help with this (see main menu bar above). As Tessa says, no good getting to court only to discover your basic paperwork was wrong.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

11:21 AM, 15th February 2012, About 12 years ago

10:32 AM, 25th February 2012, About 12 years ago

I had to evict three tenants. The whole process was v frustrating and I could not have done without the help of Evict Them and Eddie in particular who guided me through the whole process. Their prices are v reasonable and you do not need a solicitor. Also anyone with a non-rent paying tenant should also find out from the LHA if they are paying them any benefit. I found out too late and lost £7,500 in rent plus costs. The tenants had been defrauding the LHA and they did not have a clue about it.

The cc bailiffs are notoriously slow and the High Court bailiffs are a lot faster though dearer and I would recommend that route.

Evict Them 07853 250959

Sheriffs Office at Croydon

Roy B

18:13 PM, 25th February 2012, About 12 years ago

I am lucky in the respect that my tenants are good ones. Were they to end up in a situation whereby they could not pay the rent for a month or two I would be willing to forego it AS LONG AS they let me know before hand and keep me informed as to what is happening. They look after my housesbetter than I expect and I should also look after them. Sooner loose a month or two's rent than loose GOOD tenants

13:27 PM, 26th February 2012, About 12 years ago

I find that if after giving them some leeway and advice on how to find the rent - LHA - if possible or their guarantor then a pleasant chat reminding them of the difficulty they will find in renting a decent property if the have eviction notices and or other defaults against them usually works.
However there is a professional non rent payer type about who feels paying rent is optional. These require constant monitoring of the rent a/c with instant action to avoid them owing more than the deposit that is not always easy. They are best avoided and can usually be sussed out by skilful questioning  pre ASTA. I find I am often better at this than large local of franchised agents. 

Needless to say regular monitoring of your rent account is essential. Even when away from base and abroad. This is now easy with the WWW and Internet Banking.   A quick text reminder often works wonders.

Failing that after 10 years of minimal bad debts and with two recent debtors I found my solicitors litigation department did an economical job both in getting reluctant guarantors to pay up or taking them to court. 
However in terms of cost effectiveness one needs to remember that you cannot get blood out of a stone so do not throw good money after bad.

19:30 PM, 26th February 2012, About 12 years ago

I think you will find that the vast majority of LL don't have a solicitors dept and therefore they only way they may truly protect themselves from incompetent county courts is to have an RGI policy on the tenant or their guarantor.
This saves you having to worry about anything; you just make the phone call and months later they are booted out, while in the mean time you would have received full rent from the RGI company.
By choosing NOT to have an RGI policy you expose yourself to massive risks.
Is it really worth taking on a tenant or a guarantor for that tenant that can't pass a RGI check.
Only the LL can decide whether to risk his shirt on the foibles of a LHA claimant.
LL who can cover losses of about £8000.00 then fine; not many small LL can though, leaving RGI as the only last chance protective measure.
Remember any tenant who goes on to need LHA may receive 13 weeks LHA at the full rent previously paid before the LHA reduces.
This might be sufficient time for the tenant to pull things together.
There are clear differences; essentially financial viability between small and larger LL.
1 wrongun LHA claimant can break a small LL, not so with the larger one, who can effectively self insure.
So for about £7.63 per month for a RGI policy a smal LL would be mad not to take out such a policy.

23:08 PM, 26th February 2012, About 12 years ago

I have tenant he makeup tenancy agreement to the council he lives in my house he is sexualty and criminal and very bad record but i didn't know he moved in my property followed another tenants now he moved out all my three tenants by disturb them all night dancing in the house  I all ready given him two months notice act 21 but he don't want moved out I got by to let mortgage in the house he locked all windows and door s and no let any body in the house keeping criminal and dangeres mans to keep every body out from out side now he lives as scoters please give me advice what i can do police stop me to going to the property as protection can i will do if he is out can i change the lock or boarded up my house some body told me if he has not got my tenancy agreement you can change the lock when he is out please give me advice as i am 68 years old asian lady they are rasist to me and try to put me in truble I will be pleased if some body give me adviced how i can get my house from him

11:09 AM, 27th February 2012, About 12 years ago

Interesting Blog and It may benefit some others by my first
time recent experience.


I have a couple of BTLs that I have rented without any
problem for over 10 years. I like to consider myself a decent and fair landlord
doing everything right with correct documentation, meeting my obligations,
providing quality properties and having a good managing agent that I pay good
money to.


A new Tenant (fully referenced etc.) and my troubles
started from the word go with late and missed Bank payments, the agents brought
the situation to order after four months and silly me I thought we were on the
road to redemption.


Another two months and arrears started to build again but
this time communication was impossible with the Tenant and all one sided so the
agents issued a termination notice, the rub was I had to wait two months before
it could be actioned and then if he didn’t go it was a court order bringing the
whole process to over six months without any income or chance of removing him.


I decided the direct approach was needed so I visited and explained I appreciated everyone at some time will have problems but they
needed to be talked through and not ignored. Hearing his sob story I agreed to
a 12 month pay back of the arrears and a scaled weekly payment made direct to
my agent. The first couple of weeks were ok but then the payments dried up again resulting
in further action; my agents said they had to issue another notice (another two
months wait!). However I was one jump ahead of them this time as I had got the
Tenant to sign an agreement that in the event of him not making the new payments on time I could revert to the original Termination Notice and so
applied for a court action with this in hand. I found it very easy to do with
loads of help on the web for completing all the forms and advice the only rub
was the delay in notice being issued and a further delay in the hearing date at
the Court and of course the £300 cost I had to pay.


The due date came for the hearing and I attended the County
Court, needless to say the Guy didn’t turn up and I got judgement. It was
interesting for me talking with the Judge after he said I was very lucky in it
being such an easy case with the Guy not being there, as it turns out he told me many
people take a tenancy with no intention of making a rent payment wanting you to
evict them and send the Bailiffs in so they have to be re-housed by the local


I do consider myself lucky as the Tenant went on the court eviction
notice date before I had to send the Bailiffs in and the property remained


What are my lessons learnt? There are no brownie points for
being Mr. Nice Guy people will take advantage of you and do know their way
round the system better than you. When rents stop coming in take action
immediately don’t delay the clock with no rental payments continues to tick but
your mortgage payments don’t stop and make sure you have sufficient funds to
cover voids like this. At the end of the day deducting the deposit held I am just over £2,000 down which I
would prefer not to be, but my biggest loss is the disappointment in my fellow man not acting in a right and proper way even when times get hard, I am not
a Charity but neither am I a Rackman but for the next tenant I have now taken
out an Insurance to cover in the event of it happening all over again, the
net result is an increased rent being paid by the new Tenant to cover this additional cost.

1 2

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now