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POSTED 09 March 2016 Lettings

How to Evict a Tenant - Tenant Eviction Guide

If you’re a landlord with troublesome tenants, then it’s important that you know how to evict a tenant. Evicting a tenant requires you to follow a strict set of rules and regulations. If you don’t follow these, you could be guilty of illegally evicting them. In this post, we take a look at how to evict a tenant.

The rules and regulations on evicting a tenant and how to serve an eviction notice change depending on the type of tenancy. Each tenancy should have a tenancy agreement, and this should include the terms of the tenancy and the rules of how to evict a tenant or how to serve an eviction notice.

Let’s take a look at each tenancy type and how they vary if you’re evicting a tenant.

Periodic Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs)

Periodic tenancies run on either a weekly or monthly basis, and there’s no fixed end date to them.

If your tenants have a periodic AST, then you’ll have to give them ‘notice to quit’ as their eviction notice. The terms of how to do this vary, but they should be set out in the written tenancy agreement, which should include the terms for evicting a tenant.

If your tenant doesn’t leave when the eviction notice date elapses, then you must apply to the court for a possession order. This gives you the right to legally evict a tenant and take possession of the property. You can do this by applying for a warrant for eviction. Then, bailiffs will remove tenants from your property, although the possession order can only be approved if the tenant has lived in the property for six months.

Fixed Term ASTs

A fixed-term tenancy will run for a certain period of time. This is usually either 6 months or 12 months.

Again, a fixed term AST should come with a tenancy agreement, and this will detail how notice should be given for a tenant to leave the property. If your tenant refuses to leave at the end of a notice period, the rules on how to evict a tenant depend on whether the eviction is during the fixed term or whether the tenancy has ended.

During a fixed term

You can only evict a tenant during the fixed term for the following reasons:

  • The tenant hasn’t paid the rent
  • The tenant has engaged in anti-social behaviour
  • You’ve inserted a break clause into the AST which allows you to take the property back.

After a fixed term

If the fixed term has elapsed, then you don’t need a reason to evict a tenant. However, you still have to provide them with the correct amount of notice detailed in the AST. This written notice acts as an eviction notice. Notice can be given through a Section 21 notice or a Section 8 notice depending on why you’re evicting a tenant.

If the tenant refuses to leave after being issued with an eviction notice, you can apply for a possession order. If the tenant still refuses to leave, you can apply for a warrant for eviction where bailiffs will remove tenants from your property.

Assured and Regulated Tenancies

If the tenancy began on or before 27 February 1997, the tenancy may be assured or regulated, this changes the rules on evicting a tenant. Shelter can help you and provide more information on how to evict a tenant with an assured tenancy or regulated tenancy.

With these, there are different rules to follow as the tenant has additional rights. Make sure you read the guidance carefully.

Excluded Tenancies or Licences

If you live with your tenant, you don’t have to go to court to evict them. Instead, to evict the tenant, you only have to provide them with ‘reasonable notice’ to quit. This doesn’t have to be in writing as an eviction notice.

What’s deemed ‘reasonable’ is open to interpretation, but it’s based on a number of factors, including:

  • How long the tenant has been living with you
  • How often they pay rent to you
  • Your personal relationship with the tenant
  • How quickly you require them to leave/ how swiftly you need to replace them.

If you do not give ‘reasonable’ notice, the tenant can contact the council to help as it may be illegal.

Unlike with other tenancy types, you do not need a set eviction notice and, if your tenant refuses to leave, you can simply change the locks. However, if they leave personal belongings, you must return them.

Further information on how to evict a tenant, if you require it, including how to officially serve an eviction notice, is available on the .GOV website.

Image courtesy of iStock