Can You Evict a Tenant Without a Solicitor?

Evicting a tenant can seem complex and daunting, but do you need a solicitor to navigate through it? At AST Assistance, we understand the challenges landlords face and our experts offer guidance to simplify the process while ensuring adherence to the law. In this guide, 

we explain how landlords can confidently manage evictions with our expert support, particularly focusing on Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs), the most common form of tenancy agreement in the UK.

Instruct Us Our Approach

Legal Framework Simplified

The Housing Act 1988 outlines the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. Most rental agreements in the UK are ASTs, which have their own specific rules. We break down what this means for you as a landlord, especially concerning eviction rights and protocols.

The Housing Act provides two main paths for eviction:

  • Section 8: this is applicable when a tenant has breached the terms of the tenancy agreement, such as by failing to pay rent or causing damage to the property. Landlords must provide specific reasons (or 'grounds') for eviction, and there are limits on what these can be.
  • Section 21 ('No Fault' Eviction): this allows landlords to reclaim their property after a fixed-term tenancy ends or during a tenancy with no fixed end date, without the need to state a reason. However, landlords must provide tenants with a notice period and adhere to specific conditions to ensure the eviction is lawful.

Keeping up-to-date with legislative changes is essential for landlords. For instance, the Deregulation Act 2015 introduced additional protections for tenants against retaliatory evictions, and the Tenant Fees Act 2019 put a cap on the deposits landlords can collect. Understanding these amendments is key to ensuring any tenancy you manage or eviction process you initiate is compliant with current laws.

Grounds for eviction

Evicting a tenant is a legal procedure that requires specific processes to be followed and, in some cases, valid grounds as defined by UK law. It is essential for landlords to not only be familiar with these grounds but also understand the nuances of each to ensure they carry out a fair and lawful eviction process. Here's a closer look at the grounds for eviction, focusing on the two main routes: Section 8 and Section 21 notices under the Housing Act.

Section 8 notices – specific breaches by the tenant:

Certain grounds under Section 8 mandate the court to grant possession if the landlord can prove the claim, such as consistent late payment or non-payment of rent, or if the tenant has been involved in illegal or antisocial behaviour.

Other grounds allow the court to decide whether it's reasonable to grant possession. These include cases where the tenant has damaged the property or has been consistently late with rent payments. The landlord must provide solid evidence, and even then, possession is not guaranteed as the court has discretion in these cases.

Landlords must issue a Section 8 notice correctly, citing the specific grounds for eviction and providing the necessary evidence. Missteps in this process can lead to delays and potential legal challenges.

Section 21 notices – 'no fault' evictions:

Landlords can use this route to regain possession after a fixed-term tenancy ends, without stating a reason. However, the tenancy agreement must have ended naturally or by mutual agreement, and the proper notice period must be given.

For tenancies with no fixed end date, landlords can also issue a Section 21 notice. It is essential to adhere to the notice period and ensure all legal obligations have been met, including protecting the tenant's deposit in a government-approved scheme and providing the tenant with required documents, like a valid Energy Performance Certificate and a current Gas Safety Certificate.

The process must be handled meticulously. Incorrectly served notices or failure to meet legal responsibilities can invalidate a Section 21 eviction, leading to delays and additional costs.

Navigating the eviction process without a solicitor

The eviction process, while intricate, can be navigated successfully with expert guidance. The tenancy experts at AST Assistance can help you file a notice to your tenant and ensure you get it right the first time while avoiding common pitfalls that could delay the process. Should your tenant fail to vacate the property by the specified date, we can guide you through the court procedures that will follow, explain what to expect and ensure all documentation is precise and submitted on time. In the final stage, if the tenant remains in the property, we can help you understand the process of involving bailiffs to take back control, to make sure you're fully informed and legally compliant.

These steps can be taken without the need for a solicitor, as our expert guidance will help you avoid common errors and ensure a smooth process.

Recognising when you might need a solicitor

While we can equip you to handle most eviction scenarios effectively, there are complex situations where a solicitor's involvement becomes necessary. Highly contentious cases or those where the tenant has legal representation might require additional legal support. Recognising these scenarios is part of our guidance, and we will ensure you know when to escalate matters and seek specialised legal advice. Our goal is to be your primary port of call, save you time and resources, and help you determine when solicitor involvement is necessary as a secondary, well-informed choice.

If you are a landlord wanting to begin the eviction process, contact the specialists at AST Assistance to make sure you do this correctly. Call 01706 619954 or fill out our contact form today.

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