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What are the grounds for evicting tenants?

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Evicting a tenant can be a tricky, costly and time consuming process and for most landlords it is a last resort when they are left with no other choices. However, landlords must always ensure that they follow legal guidelines when bringing forth an eviction. We take a look at some of the grounds for eviction below.

evictionThe most common reason that landlords seek to use to remove a tenant is that they have fallen behind with their rent payments. For some landlords, property rental may be their sole income so it can be very frustrating when the money stops coming in. It is important to note, however, that landlords can only seek eviction proceedings after a tenant has fallen at least two months behind with their rent. They must then be served a section 8 notice, which is served on a tenant by a landlord wishing to regain a property of an assured shorthold tenancy.

Section 8 allows landlords to seek possession of their property during a fixed term tenancy. They must serve a notice seeking possession which will specify a date. If the tenant ignores the date then a landlord must apply to the courts for a possession order. If the tenant fails once again to follow the order then the court can arrange for a bailiff to enforce eviction.

All properties that are rented are likely to incur some form of wear and tear, but when there is unreasonable damage there may be grounds for an eviction, and if a landlord wishes to renovate the property at some point then they may also be able to serve a section 8 notice. However, they will need to prove that the tenant could not live there during the work and they must also cover the tenant’s removal costs.

This theme continues in that a property can also be reclaimed if the landlord wishes to use it as their main residential property to live in, provided that they have lived there previously. A section 8 notice can be served on this occasion but a simpler route would be to wait until the tenancy has ended and then service a section 21 notice known as a “notice to quit”.

Landlords cannot use section 21 to seek possession of a property during a fixed term lease or if they received a deposit that was not protected under a tenancy deposit scheme.

If a tenant has become a nuisance and is committing anti-social behaviour, or perhaps if they have provided false information about themselves, then a landlord may also be able to remove them.

Other grounds for eviction can include a tenant receiving criminal convictions, using the property for immoral or illegal purposes (such as drug distribution or prostitution) or when a landlord falls behind with mortgage payments and the lender wishes to seize the property.

If a landlord wishes to make a case for eviction it is recommended to seek legal counsel regarding the best avenue to take, ensuring that correct evidence is gathered and that the process can be wrapped up as quickly as possible. For more information on the rights and responsibilities of a landlord, please read our helpful article here.

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