What Are the Reasons to Evict a Tenant (UK)?

Eviction has considerable legal implications for both landlords and tenants in the UK, especially when it comes before the end of a tenancy agreement. It may be the final step in a series of escalating responses to a dispute, and can be caused by various issues that might arise during a tenancy.

This blog post outlines the valid reasons for eviction under UK law, to provide landlords with a clear understanding of when and how they can legally proceed with this serious course of action. By ensuring they have a thorough understanding of these legal grounds, landlords can approach the eviction process responsibly and ensure they do not fall afoul of the law.

Instruct Us Our Approach

Understanding the eviction process

Eviction refers to the legal process a landlord must follow to remove a tenant from their property. In the UK, this process is strictly regulated to protect both parties' rights. Landlords must understand that eviction is not simply asking tenants to leave; it involves legal notices, court proceedings, and adhering to specific processes and grounds for eviction set by law. Recognising the gravity of eviction and the legal requirements ensures landlords approach this action with the necessary seriousness and preparation.

Find out what the process of evicting a tenant is in our blog post.

Non-payment of rent

Consistent non-payment or habitual late payment of rent is one of the most common grounds for eviction. If a tenant fails to pay rent on time and in full, landlords have the legal right to start the eviction process. However, they must first issue the correct notice - in these circumstances, a Section 8 notice - specifying the grounds for eviction (in this case, arrears of rent). The tenant must be given a chance to pay the owed amount or come to an agreement before further action is taken. Landlords need to follow a specific procedure, which may eventually lead to court action if the tenant doesn't comply or disputes the claim. It's a process that requires patience and strict adherence to legal protocols. It is also important to note that if the tenant is able to pay some or all of their rental arrears before their court hearing, the eviction may not be able to proceed.

Breach of the tenancy agreement

Violations of the terms set out in the tenancy agreement can also be grounds for eviction. This might include the tenant causing damage to the property, using the property for illegal activities, or subletting without permission. Landlords must clearly document these breaches and provide the tenant with a formal notice, usually a Section 8 notice, citing the specific terms breached. Landlords must have clear evidence of the violation and follow legal procedures to ensure the eviction is justified and enforceable.

Property required for landlord's use

Landlords may require their property back for personal use, such as moving in themselves or allowing a family member to live there. Alternatively, they might need to sell the property without sitting tenants. In such cases, landlords can issue a Section 21 notice to end a tenancy at the end of a fixed term or during a periodic tenancy. However, they must provide tenants with the correct notice period and ensure all other legal obligations have been met, including deposit protection and property licensing.

A key consideration is the changing of laws around Section 21 notices. Government proposals to remove this legal mechanism are regularly under discussion, and landlords may not be able to use this approach if the changes go ahead. Before engaging with the tenant, it is advisable to seek expert advice on the options available. If the landlord used to live in the property and wishes to move back in as their main residence, this may also be considered legal grounds for eviction and enable the landlord to use a Section 8 notice to carry out the eviction.

Anti-social behaviour

Tenants causing significant nuisance or engaging in criminal activities can be evicted to protect the property, the landlord's interests, and the wellbeing of neighbours. Anti-social behaviour might include excessive noise, harassment, or criminal activities. Landlords must provide substantial evidence of the behaviour and issue a Section 8 notice under the relevant grounds. This process often involves liaising with local authorities and may lead to court proceedings.

Expiration of the fixed term

At the end of a fixed-term tenancy, landlords might decide not to renew the agreement. While technically not an eviction, this action requires the tenant to leave. Landlords must provide tenants with a Section 21 notice, and give them adequate time to find alternative accommodation. It's important to time this correctly and ensure all legal requirements, such as deposit protection and property maintenance, have been fulfilled.

Alternatives to eviction

Before proceeding with eviction, landlords might explore alternative dispute resolution methods to resolve issues, such as mediation. Sometimes, a constructive conversation or negotiation can lead to an agreement that suits both parties, and avoid the need for eviction. Maintaining open communication and seeking to understand the tenant's perspective often leads to a more positive outcome.

When considering eviction, landlords must understand their legal rights and responsibilities, because evicting a tenant without following the correct legal process can lead to serious legal and financial consequences. Moreover, landlords should consider the ethical implications and the impact on the tenant.

To understand your rights and obligations as landlord, contact the expert team at AST Assistance by calling 01706 619 954 or by using our contact form below.

Information, help & advice

Visit our Facebook and LinkedIn pages