In cases where a tenant has been served with a Notice to Quit or refuses to leave a property after a tenancy had ended, it is essential to seek expert legal advice from Duncan Lewis as soon as possible.
It is illegal to try and evict a tenant using force or harassment – but Duncan Lewis property litigation solicitors have a successful track record in possession proceedings and can advise landlords at any stage of the eviction process.
The Duncan Lewis property department can also act swiftly to protect a landlord’s interests and property – and can advise on evicting a tenant from an assured short-hold tenancy (AST), whether the tenancy is a fixed term tenancy or a periodic tenancy – as well as excluded tenancies and assured tenancies.
It is usual to serve a Section 21 Notice on a tenant followed by a Section 8 Notice if they fail to leave the premises by the due date. The Section 8 Notice should state any breaches of the tenancy agreement on the part of the tenant and gives the landlord possession of the property. The usual period of notice for a Section 8 notice is between two weeks and two months, depending on the specific breach of the tenancy agreement.
A Section 21 Notice can only be issued to seek possession if the tenant has a written AST agreement – and for tenancies after April 2007, the landlord must have paid the deposit into a deposit protection scheme. If issuing a Section 21 Notice, the usual period of notice is two months.
To claim possession of the property if the tenant fails to leave, it is necessary to apply to the court for either a standard possession order – or an accelerated possession order if there are no rent arrears to claim.
If a tenant still refuses to leave the property, a warrant for possession is issued and bailiffs will evict the tenant.
In cases where a tenant is living under the same roof as a landlord, it is not necessary to take court action – notice to quit within a reasonable notice period is all that is required. The notice can be verbal and the notice period is usually based on how often the rent is paid – eg one week or one month.
If the tenant does not quit the property, a landlord is legally entitled to change the locks on the tenant’s room, regardless of whether their belongings are still on the premises.
Tenants with assured or regulated tenancies have extra protection under the law and the process of eviction can be more complex. Any tenancy which pre-dates 27 February 1997 may be an assured or regulated tenancy and it is advisable to contact Duncan Lewis property solicitors for advice on evicting a tenant.
Tenants who have a fixed term tenancy cannot be evicted until the tenancy ends.
In cases where a landlord is unsure of their rights in evicting a tenant, it is advisable to speak to Duncan Lewis before starting the process, to avoid disputes with a tenant and ensure that the process of eviction goes smoothly and is as amicable as possible.
For expert legal advice on property litigation and Possession Proceedings for Landlords, call Duncan Lewis Property Litigation on 0333 772 0409.