How do I get rid of my bad tenant?

by Mary Latham

11:04 AM, 14th February 2012
About 9 years ago

How do I get rid of my bad tenant?

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How do I get rid of my bad tenant?

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.

Comments

Mary Latham

12:23 PM, 27th February 2012
About 9 years ago

Skrishna I am really sorry to hear about the situation with this tenant. So that I am clear about the facts may I just tell you what I think you are saying is the situation

The council are letting your property for you?
The council have moved a tenant in who is behaving so badly that all the other tenants have moved out and he is now the only tenant?
There is a person living with this tenant who is keeping people out of the property because they are afraid of him?
The tenant is no longer paying you rent?
He has changed the locks and you cannot get into the property?
You feel vulnerable because of his behaviour
You think that this tenant has now become a squatter?

If you would please confirm that I understand the details correctly or tell me where I have got it wrong I will give you some information to help you.  I cannot give advice because I am not insured to do so.

Mary Latham

12:36 PM, 27th February 2012
About 9 years ago

Thank you for that story Tony when landlord hear about good guys getting caught out it makes the point that it can happen to any of us.

I tell landlords to serve a Section 21 on all tenants 3 months in and to tell them that you are doing this to ensure that you will have legal vacant possession when they decide to bring the tenancy to an end. This is in fact very useful when tenants leave without notice or do no surrender the keys.  It also saves time in the event that we do need to get the property back ourtside of the first six months or fixed term.  Once a S21 is served there is no time limit on when you can enforce it so long as you have not put an new AST in place it will run along side the AST forever.

In this case there was no need to issue the S21 a second time the court should have been asked to enforce the first one.

13:11 PM, 27th February 2012
About 9 years ago

Thanks for your comments. I did not perhaps
make it clear the reason a second notice was applied was that the
first sent recorded delivery was returned marked unknown many weeks later and
then a proof of hand delivery had to be made.

Mary Latham

14:31 PM, 27th February 2012
About 9 years ago

Thank you for clarifying that Tony because so many landlords send recorded delivery or registered post and this is what happens.  If the notice is sent by post two copies should be posted from two post offices and proof of posting (this is free) obtained and kept on file.  If the notice is delivered by hand a witness statement should be signed by someone who is not a family member and this should state that they saw the notice and read that it was called a Section21 and that it was then put into an envelope and delivered to the address.

Tenants often say " an empty envelope came" and this is why I like witness statements which can be attached to the paperwork should this go to court.

Recardo Knights

11:29 AM, 15th November 2012
About 8 years ago

Hi All,

I have been reading up about section 21 notices I hope some one can answer my questions.

I have read Mary Latham's post from 9 months ago. She says to serve a section 21, 3 months in so you will get legal vacant possesion when you want the property back as long as no new AST is put in place, and the notice has no limit.

Q1: new tenant on 6 month AST, starts 1st January. Section 21 given 3 months later. 1st July rolls over to Periodic (requires 2 months notice by landlord & 1 month by tenant).

I now need possesion by 1st Nov.

How do I give notice if a new section 21 is not needed. Do i Just write a letter a letter before the end of August so they have more than their 2 months notice. The section 21 may have no expire time but it would state possesion required by 1st July.

Q2: How should this letter (or new sec 21) be delivered if the property is distant (to far to give by hand) so the tenant can't deny getting it.

I have read it has to be 1st Class post in one case and by recorded delivery. How about scaning the letter (or new Sec 21) and send it by first class posy and email?

Q3: If they do not leave how do I then enforce the eviction. Do I just go to a court and fill out some paperwork saying I want possesion. If so does the Court have to be in the area where the property is. or where I live 90 miles away?
Q4: In the example I have Given, the tenants is on a periodic and served with a Section 21 because they have agreed to make payments. If they do not make payments as promissed could I then serve a Section 8 on the ground of none payment of rent which could give me possesion in 2 weeks, or would i have to waite for the date previously given on the sec 21.
I would be gratefull for any advice.
Recardo

Mary Latham

16:49 PM, 16th November 2012
About 8 years ago

Hi Richardo,

How do I give notice if a new section 21 is not needed. Do i Just write a letter a letter before the end of August so they have more than their 2 months notice. The section 21 may have no expire time but it would state possesion required by 1st July.

Ans The S21 is still in place and you should write to your tenant to say that you now intend to enforce the Notice (enclose a copy) served on x date and that you would like him to leave by x date One month from the date of your letter is usual

Q2: How should this letter (or new sec 21) be delivered if the property is distant (to far to give by hand) so the tenant can't deny getting it.

Ans. You should post the letter from 2 separate Post Offices and ask for Proof of Postage - this is free. Get a witness to sign a statement to say the he read the letter and saw you post it at x and y locations on x date

I have read it has to be 1st Class post in one case and by recorded delivery. How about scaning the letter (or new Sec 21) and send it by first class posy and email?

Ans Do not use recorded delivery because this gives a tenant the chance to refuse it. Please see above

Q3: If they do not leave how do I then enforce the eviction. Do I just go to a court and fill out some paperwork saying I want possesion. If so does the Court have to be in the area where the property is. or where I live 90 miles away?

Ans If they do not leave you need to use the same process as you would if you had served it two months before and get the Court to enforce your Notice
You can use Accelerated Possession Process which means that you should not need to go to court. Tessa Shepperson explains everything you need to know here http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2010/03/29/urban-myth-using-accelerated-possession-procedure-is-really-quic/

Q4: In the example I have Given, the tenants is on a periodic and served with a Section 21 because they have agreed to make payments. If they do not make payments as promissed could I then serve a Section 8 on the ground of none payment of rent which could give me possesion in 2 weeks, or would i have to waite for the date previously given on the sec 21

Ans When you serve a Section 8 on Ground 8 it is two weeks before you can ask the Court to make a date for the hearing to enforce your Notice not two weeks before you gain Possession and a Court date can be several weeks away. Sections 8 and 21 Notices can be in place at the same time and you can wait to see which one give you Possession first, one will not preclude the other.

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Recardo Knights

12:15 PM, 22nd November 2012
About 8 years ago

Hi Mary,
Thanks for answering all my questions, as your post was listed 9 months ago I did not expect an answer from you in person.
Mark should find a place for this topic where it could be seen without trawling through lots of old Posts. I'm sure your answer would be of beneit to other LL like myself who have never had to go through eviction processes. People are now on hard times and I can only see them getting into arrears
My lady tenant is on LHA benefits works part time, has 2 kids and a stop at home husband. She got into arrears about 12 months ago, and I allowed her to make up the rent in arrears inatallments. I also suggest she should get the council to sign over the rental payments to me.
12 monts on she missed her payment at the 1st of the month, she said she would pay half the rent before the end of the month, and the full rent at the begining of the following month, so i agreed.
At the end of the month she paid £100 in to my account, then missed the next months payment. so now 2 months in arrears less £100. I contacted her , she said she was finding it difficult to find the rent. I asked her how was it difficult to find the rent when the Council gave it to her on the 27th of the month. She said her sister would help her out but was away and not back for 2 weeks.
I downloaded a section 21 and sent it to her stating I had contacted the council and ask for direct payments from them as she was 2 months in arrears. If I did not recieve direct payment from them, and an agreed arrears payment plan from her, her family would have to vacate by 1st Feb 2012.
I forwarded her an email received from the council which said her benifits will be suspended, along with a scanned copy of the section 21 I posted 1st class. I said she would receive a letter from the council and said she should take the Sec 21 with her when she went to see them. I said if she did not receive my letter with notice I would send a copy to the council, by email, and one to my cousin (who lives locally) to deliver to her by hand.
She email me to say she received the notice and was going to the council asking for direct payments to me.
The lady is a nice person who has fallen on hard times so I do not want to evict her, but action should be taken if they miss an agreement and keep asking for time. 2 months becomes 3,4 etc, and by the time notice is given i could be 6 months or more in arrears with no chance of recouping it. I am not flush and still have the 80% ltv mortgage to pay.
Regards
Recardo

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