Establishing legal grounds
The majority of rental agreements in the UK fall under the parameters of Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs). For landlords with tenants under an AST, specific legal grounds must be used to initiate an eviction. It is crucial to comprehend the nuances of ASTs, as they dictate the terms and conditions under which an eviction can take place.
Mandatory grounds for eviction leave no discretion to the court; if the landlord proves these grounds, the court must grant possession of the property to the landlord. These grounds include:
Rent arrears: Tenants have accrued rent arrears for a specified period. However, if the tenant pays up between the application and the court date, this is no longer valid.
Breach of tenancy agreement: Tenants have violated specific terms of the tenancy agreement.
Property deterioration: The property has undergone significant deterioration due to tenant behaviour.
False statements: The tenancy was granted based on false statements made by the tenant. Landlords must provide clear and substantial evidence to support their claim under these grounds.
Discretionary grounds for eviction
Discretionary grounds for eviction allow the court to exercise judgement based on the evidence presented. These grounds include:
Rent arrears (intermittent): Tenants have occasionally fallen into rent arrears.
Breach of tenancy agreement (minor): Tenants have committed minor breaches of the tenancy agreement.
Anti-social behaviour: Tenants have engaged in anti-social behaviour, affecting neighbours and the surrounding community.
Under discretionary grounds, even if the landlord proves their case, the court may decide not to grant possession if it deems the eviction unfair.
Serving an impeccable eviction notice
Serving a legally compliant eviction notice is the only way to successfully evict tenants from your property.
The Section 21 Notice, often termed a ‘no-fault’ eviction notice, necessitates a two-month notice period for tenants, marking the end of a fixed-term tenancy or at any time during a periodic tenancy. However, it is only valid if the landlord adheres to their own legal obligations during the tenancy, including the proper protection of the tenant’s deposit. If a tenant ignores a Section 21 Notice, you still have options available.
The Section 8 Notice is for tenants who breach the terms of their tenancy agreement. The notice period depends on the eviction grounds cited. The eviction specialists at AST Assistance can provide invaluable insights to ensure landlords articulate the grounds for eviction clearly and back their claims with robust evidence.
Securing a possession order
Progressing to the next phase, landlords must apply for a possession order if the tenant remains in the property after the end of the notice period.
Landlords must submit a comprehensive application to the county court, ensuring all documentation is accurate and complete.
Both the landlord and the tenant will receive summons to attend a court hearing. Here, a judge scrutinises the evidence presented. Landlords, armed with our expert advice, can confidently present their case, having ensured all legal grounds for eviction are clear and substantiated.
If the judge rules in favour of the landlord, they grant a possession order, stipulating the date by which the tenant must vacate.
Enlisting bailiffs the right way
In instances where tenants refuse to vacate even after a possession order has been granted, landlords may need to involve bailiffs. Landlords must apply to the court for a Warrant of Possession, which is a formal request for bailiff intervention. Once the court grants the Warrant of Possession, bailiffs schedule an eviction date.
Upholding legal obligations and respecting tenant rights
Balancing landlord rights with tenant protections is paramount. From serving the correct eviction notice to following court procedures, our experts ensure landlords fulfil all the relevant legal requirements, safeguarding against potential legal challenges.
Tenants hold rights even in eviction scenarios, including the right to proper notice and the ability to challenge the eviction in court. There can be serious legal consequences for failing to uphold these rights, so it is important to follow the correct procedures.
Seek advice from eviction specialists
Landlords must ensure they have a robust legal basis for eviction, supported by clear evidence, to navigate the process successfully.
If you are a landlord who wants 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.