The Inside Edge
A couple of weeks ago we published an article on how to avoid the tenant from hell, but what if they have already infiltrated your defences? They may have passed all the credit checks, ticked all the right boxes, paid rent on time and shown all the signs of being the model tenant only for problems to suddenly occur. Whether you are having problems with rent being paid or damage being made to your property there are procedures you can follow to evict a tenant if things have gone too far.
Keep Communication Lines Open
Communication is the key issue when problems occur between tenant and landlord and it’s important that you make your intentions clear from the outset. If your tenant has fallen behind with the rent or is refusing to pay then you have every right to protect your rental income and investigate legal proceedings if necessary. The good news is many problems such as this can be resolved by finding out what the issue is. If your tenant has fallen behind the rent because of a certain misfortune you can give them a date by which they need to come good with the rent giving them a little leeway. After all, it’s going to be a lot more hassle to find another tenant than wait a couple of weeks for the rent that is due.
If your rental property is mortgaged then you may have an obligation with your lender to keep your rental income above a certain level. If you have no choice, but to start the eviction process then you need to check that certain procedures are followed.
Before you begin the eviction process you must ensure that both yourself and your tenant has a signed copy of the tenancy agreement and that you are confident of the rent schedule. You should also check that the rental deposit is protected sufficiently and that there are no disrepair issues with the property in question.
Issuing the Paperwork
If your tenant is more than 2 weeks behind with the rent then it’s time to serve a Section 8 notice. This notice must be responded positively within two weeks of receipt and if the tenant has not done so you should begin legal proceedings immediately. It can take anything up to 8 weeks for a court order to be issued.
Before you process your claim you should ensure you have all the relevant paperwork and evidence available. If there are any errors or false claims these will be brought to light at the hearing and could result in a second hearing or a dismissed claim.
Problems with Legally Evicting a Tenant
Of course, in our democratic society, tenants always have the right to defending their position. The court will send your tenant a copy of your claim to the tenant advising them strongly to seek legal advice. Free help is available to tenants from Shelter, solicitors, the Citizens Advice Bureau and also their local housing authority and there are also a number of specialist Government websites offering advice to tenants facing eviction. There is a severe shortage of council and social housing available in the UK right now and these organisations will do all they can to ensure tenants can remain in their rented accommodation.
However, the law is the law and you as a landlord have a right to evict a tenant who has breached their agreement or is refusing to or simply cannot pay their rent. As long as you ensure you communicate with your tenant and attempt to resolve any difficulties you may be able to avoid the long and arduous process of tenant eviction.