by Mary Latham
11:04 AM, 14th February 2012, About 10 years ago 17
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.
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