down to find the advice you are looking for. Most recent
questions and answers are listed first.
Landlord wants to sell the property and facing homelessness
We rented our house out to council tenants through Brent Council and we have
now decided to sell the house in order for us to pay off bills and put down
on another smaller property. The tenants have been issued with a notice to
move out in 2 months times but my concern is that they won’t. The agency is
convinced the council will tell them to stay and wait for a warrant which is
what Brent has a reputation of doing. Can we issue an eviction notice or
apply for a warrant before they move out? We really need our house back by
October otherwise we will also be homeless with kids in tow. How can we
guarantee that we won’t be homeless?
I am afraid that guaranteeing you won’t be homeless is nearly impossible. The Council will be behaving as most Council’s do, in telling your tenants that they are not homeless until the case has gone to Court and they have been found homeless. Even then, they could stay in the property until after the date the court has ordered possession and until a Bailiff’s Warrant is issued.
The notice you have issued (a s.21, I would assume) must expire before you can apply to the Court for possession. If it has been issued correctly, it is an accelerated possession procedure, which should not take very long to have the court action, though holiday periods can delay it. The tenants could make a case that they should not be evicted immediately, if they have children, which could delay it a little. In my local area, the Homeless section would only ask for a court warrant and not the Bailiff’s, before treating them as homeless, but it will depend very much on the way your local authority works.
In view of your own difficult circumstances, it may be worth discussing with your tenants whether they would be prepared to move to another private rented property, if you were prepared to compensate them, perhaps by helping with removals? Please put no pressure on them, you are only trying to assist and you must ensure nothing you do could be seen as harassment or an attempt to illegally evict. You should also discuss this with Brent Council – was the agreement that they could use it to house homeless people to meet their statutory obligations? If so, they may feel that it is out of order to expect to end the agreement at this stage.
Rent in arrears
I have a tenant who is three months in arrears and in receipt of housing benefit. In May I issued a two month notice requesting telling the tenant that either she must bring the rent up to date or she would be evicted. I have since written to her on three occasions reminding her of her rent obligation and that if rent wasn't paid by the 24th July, her two month notice would have expired. She is in the second year of a fixed term tenancy.
I would like to seek quick possession. Please advise me where I can find the correct forms to seek possession and what grounds I should use.
First things first – contact housing benefits and ask that future payments be paid direct to you – they must do this if she is in 8 weeks or 2 months rent arrears. Possession – provided the notice you gave her was correctly worded or was a formal notice, either of which can be used for s.21 notice, you should be able to go to court for an accelerated possession procedure. Although accelerated, this could still take several weeks, hence the reason for getting the rent paid to you for the remainder of the time she is with you.
You can apply for possession online through at www.hmgov - which is £50 cheaper than doing it through the courts?
If you have any doubts about the notice you have issued, you could issue a s.8 notice, using grounds 8,10 and 11 that the tenant was in rent arrears. Although requires only a rwo week notice, getting a court order will probably take longer than the s 21 route.
Depending on whether you are using s.21 or s.8, you will need three copies of form N5 or N5B, with particulars of claim form where you are not using the accelerated possession (available online as before). Very best of luck.
Do I have possession?
As I am currently living overseas I have let my property in the rural Midlands. There are two separate assured shorthold tenancy agreements in place - one for the house and one for the land (approximately 6 acres used for grazing the tenant’s horses).
The tenant currently owes me four months rent. He gave two months’ written notice that he would relinquish both tenancies - the notice period starting on 1 April 2009, so he should have moved out by 31 May 2009.
This did not happen. Since then he has made numerous assurances to both my agent and prospective new tenant that he would be out ‘within a few days’ . As things stand at the moment the tenant has removed all his furniture and no longer lives on the property. He promised to leave the keys at the property for my agent to pick up - however when my agent went to collect them there were no keys. There are still three horses and two vehicles belonging to the tenant that remain on the land.
My question is this - do I now legally have possession of the house? Can I change the locks and allow the new tenant access to paint the interior? What are the implications of the cars and horses still remaining on the land.
He has said he will return the keys – he has not done so, therefore you can only assume he is in residence, I am afraid. If you change the locks, he could make a case for illegal eviction, which is not pleasant as such claims are taken very seriously by local authorities.
Get your agent to issue a Notice to Quit, which basically says you believe he has abandoned the property. It is a 28 day notice but if you hear nothing from the tenant over that period, on the 29 th day you can enter the property and change the locks. Hopefully, that will prompt him to get something done.
I am afraid I have no idea about the horses, but if the vehicles remain, I believe that at the expiry of the Notice to Quit, you could advise the police they have been abandoned and they should be able to take action.
The form for section 21(4) (a) for a periodic rent does not
have a space for 'acknowledgement by tenant'. Is this not
important since it is on the s21 for an AST.
the reason it is included in the s21 is that this can be issued
at the start of a tenancy and could be acted on as soon as
the tenancy expires and, if going to court for a possession
order, the court would need to know that the tenant acknowledged
when it was served that he had received it. I think 21(4)a
would not apply until the tenancy has expired and converted
to a statutory periodic tenancy, hence an acknowledgement
would not be deemed necessary. I think I would always advise
that an acknowledgement be signed, so draw up your own for
signature, keeping a copy with the notice, to prove what you
We have tenants who are two months behind
on their rent and the tenancy does not expire for another
month. We have experienced several problems with them since
the tenancy began: mainly unreasonable demands and the like,
but have dealt with things.
During the course
of the last three weeks we have noted that on four separate
occasions the front door to the property has been left wide
open onto the street, electric lights have been left on but
no one has been home. In addition we have discovered that
the tenants have trashed the flat and in fact have moved out
leaving belongings and some pets in the flat.
On the fourth occasion
we decided to secure the building by changing the lock on
the front door and put up a notice advising the tenants not
to attempt to enter because of the locks being changed but
instead to contact us.
As you can imagine
the tenants are not pleased that we have been forced to take
this action and have gained entry to the flat via a roof and
climbing through a window. The tenants have also attempted
to hack away at the wood on the front door in order to expose
the lock. This has caused total damage to the door which will
now need to be replaced.
We have allowed access
to the flat in order that the tenants may finish clearing
the possessions out and clean it to an acceptable standard
but they have since changed the lock again and have stated
that they will not allow access.
Is this legal? Can
a tenant reclaim possession of a property which because they
were living elsewhere and the property was left unsecured
had its locks changed by the landlord? Do I now have a right
to gain entry into the property by whichever means in order
to secure the property fully against further criminal damage
by the tenant?
you had concerns about the security of the property and securing
it to safeguard your goods and theirs was acceptable. However,
to cover yourself, the notice you left at the house should
have stated “this property has been secured to safeguard
it, not to deprive you, the tenant, of the tenancy. Please
contact us for access”. Whilst the tenants may not be
pleased, you are fortunate that they have only tried to gain
access, rather than go to the local authority about what could
clearly be seen as an illegal eviction and could have created
a very serious situation for yourselves. Yes, I know you felt
you had justification, but that is rarely acceptable in law.
The only way to
legally gain access is to serve a legal notice and, as the
tenants are 2 months behind with the rent, serve a section
8, ground 8 notice, which is two weeks, then go immediately
to court, once the notice has expired.
Evicting a relative
My brother and I bought our house from
my mother. We have another brother who lives in the house but
refuses to contribute any money at all. Two months ago we told
him he must leave, but he still hasn't left. We want to change
our locks and arrange for him to pick up his belonging at a
date convenient to us. He keeps claiming beneficial interest,
but as far as we are concerned he doesn't have an interest.
Can we just move him out?
I can find no
mention of ‘beneficial interest’ in my housing
law guide, but this may be a term used in family law which
I am unaware of. I cannot see that he has an interest, but
I think I would see a solicitor. It is a great shame when
family disagreements occur as it leads to unhappiness all
round. Is there no possibility of mediation, to try and come
to an amicable resolution?
You ask whether
you could ‘just move him out’ – where do
you visualise him going? As a single man, there may be little
help available to him from the local authority.
My tenant’s contract expired in July. He had initially
agreed to stay on until 12 of October. I gave him the contract
to sign for the extension of the contract only to be told that
he no longer wanted to stay and wished to leave this month.
I have asked that
the sign the contract confirming his last day, but he refuses
to sign and is now staying in the property without a contract.
He has paid me rent
less the deposit amount which he paid when moving in, saying
he does not trust me to give back the deposit after he leaves.
What notice can I
issue to them so that they are aware that they must vacate
the property by the agreed date?
the original tenancy expired without a new contract being
signed, it converted to a statutory periodic tenancy. You
are still required to give him two months notice. Without
any other ground, this is the only way you can be certain
that he will leave, eventually. At the expiry of the notice,
you would have to get a court order, should he still remain
I am a little
concerned that the deposit was held by you and that the tenant
felt he could deduct it from the rent you were owed. If it
was protected by one of the tenancy deposit protection schemes,
the Dispute Resolution Service should have been the ones who
handled the situation. If not protected, be thankful he is
unaware of the possible penalties to you.
section 21 notice
let my property on a 12 month assured shorthold tenancy agreement
commencing in September 2004 at a rent of £825.00 per
calendar month. Rent was to be paid on the ninth of every
month. A section 21(I)(b) notice was also signed at the same
I have not renewed
the agreement since although the tenant stayed on. However
in April this year he stopped paying rent.
Reading your web site,
which is excellent, it seems that to seek possession I should
issue a section 8 notice citing ground 8. Do I also cite grounds
10 and 11? And what date should I enter for the date before
which proceedings should not begin?
Are there any other
forms I need to complete?
How sad when someone
has been a tenant so long that they have to be evicted. I
trust you have sent warning letters etc. advising of the rent
situation? If so, then the section 8 notice is your only option,
though you could still try and use the section 21 notice,
though I usually advise that when it is signed at the beginning,
it does not seem fair to use it when some time has elapsed,
and a court may also feel that served at the beginning, it
was to protect you should the tenancy not work out well, rather
than that four years down the line, it would still stand.
However, a section 8 notice for rent arrears should always
use ground 8, but also include grounds 10 and 11. You need
to quote the exact wording as shown in the act, quoted here:
8 - Both at the date of the service of the notice under section
8 of this Act relating to the proceedings for possession and
at the date of the hearing –
if rent is payable weekly or fortnightly, at least eight weeks’
rent is unpaid;
if rent is payable monthly, at least two months’ rent
if rent is payable quarterly, at least one quarter’s
rent is more than three months in arrears; and
if rent is payable yearly, at least three months’ rent
is more than three months in arrears;
and for the purpose of this ground “rent” means
rent lawfully due from the tenant.
ground was amended in the 1996 Housing Act. In the 1988 Act,
time periods for rent arrears in a) were 13 weeks rent and
in b) were three months)
10 – Some rent lawfully due from the tenant –
is unpaid on the date on which the proceedings for possession
except where subsection (1) (b) of section 8 of this Act applies,
in arrears at the date of the service of the notice under
that section relating to those proceedings.
Ground 11 – Whether or not any rent is in arrears on
the date on which proceedings for possession are begun, the
tenant has persistently delayed paying rent which has become
The notice, which
is 14 days, should end on the last day of a tenancy period.
So, if your tenancy agreement was dated 13 of the month, the
notice would end on 12 of the next. So, tenancy began 13 September
2004. The notice should be given on 29 July to end 12 August.
You would go to court on 13 August. I think you are asked
when court proceedings would commence.
If the tenant
remains after the notice expires, you would go to court for
possession. The court will give you three copies of the appropriate
form and three particulars of claim. You can also apply for
possession on-line, which is supposed to be quicker and cheaper.
I have a tenant who has been in my property
for the last 20 months. The tenant signed an assured shorthold
tenancy agreement under part 1 of the Housing act 1988, for
a period of six months. A standard tenancy agreement form was
used which I obtained from a legal stationers (Oyez). I added
several special conditions to the form, including that ‘the
tenancy agreement may be continued in six months blocks by mutual
now wish to give the tenant notice (in excess of two months).
I have obtained a
form under the Housing act 1988 section 21 (1) (b) for seeking
repossession of the property. It is a notice requiring possession
for a fixed term tenancy (assured shorthold tenancy), but
I have noticed that on the back of this form there is a note
which states that ‘The lengths of the notice must be
at least two months and the notice may be given before or
on the day on which are fixed term comes to an end’
As the tenancy has
gone on longer than the fixed term of six months, is this
the correct form to use?
As the tenancy is now a statutory
periodic tenancy, the form you require is section 21 (4)(a).
I own a house that I rented out and have now decided to put
the house up for sale. Has the tenant got the right to refuse
to leave by the date I have asked him to leave by? I have
given him two month’s notice.
The tenant has been
in the property over two years and has two very young children.
I renew the tenancy agreement every six months and it is now
due for renewal again.
Please can you advise
me in my rights and there rights in this matter.
you give the correct legal notice, which is two months which
ends either on the date the tenancy ends or after, the tenant
has no right to stay. However, if she does remain, you will
have to go to court to evict on an Accelerated Possession
Procedure. That can take several weeks, and the tenant has
the right to remain until a court orders her out. Really,
it would be better to do it by agreement with the tenant,
rather than having to go to court as it costs £150.
Discuss it pleasantly with the tenant, having issued the notice.
State you are happy to give a good reference and see what
response you get. If you are not satisfied that he will move,
and you need to be very confident that he means what he says,
you must protect yourself by going to court. Do not let the
fact there are young children affect you – they are
not your responsibility.
house with sitting tenant
I am about to buy a house from an old
family friend. The house, which formerly consisted of nine
bedsits, is now vacant apart from one sitting tenant who is
reluctant to leave after more than 16 years of occupation.
After trying to evict her, the current owner has offered her
a cash lump sum, but she is still not willing to leave. I
am reluctant to buy the house without vacant possession as
I have plans to refurbish the property before moving in with
my family. The current owner thinks that I may have more luck
dislodging the tenant, given my plans to develop the property,
and he has suggested that I explore my options. Is there a
legal avenue that I can pursue, or does the tenant effectively
have unimpeachable rights here?
I am not a great
fan of buying with sitting tenants, unless you are doing this
to continue the business of letting the property. There is
also a difficulty in answering as you have not given very
exact details. You say she has been in the property ‘over
16 years’ – if you mean she moved in 1991/92,
she is either an assured shorthold tenant, which lapsed into
a statutory periodic tenancy at the expiry of the original
term, or an Assured tenant, which again has lapsed into a
statutory periodic. As you say your friend has tried to evict
her, and presumably failed, I can only assume she is an assured
tenant, and therefore has very good security.
The only ground
I could think of that you may be able to use, if she owes
no rent, is ground 9 ‘suitable alternative accommodation
is available for the tenant or will be available for him when
the order for possession takes effect’. (This is the
wording in the Act, so could be used in the Court paperwork).
However, it is a discretionary ground, so a court would have
to decide whether it was reasonable for you to want possession
and you or your friend would have to be in a position to offer
alternative accommodation, which you may not be. It would
have to be very similar accommodation with the same facilities,
same distance from facilities and the like.
You must obviously
not attempt to harass her or force her out. You could have
a civil conversation and ask whether she has any sympathy
with what you intend to do, in which case she may move. But
I would not normally expect your suggestion would have any
weight with someone who does not wish to leave what she sees
as her long term home.
I think I would
not sign anything until your friend has taken steps to secure
vacant possession, if that is possible, but it may not be.
Tenant refusing to leave
I want help to evict a tenant who has
breached the terms of the agreement. She leaves the common areas
untidy, does not clean up after using the kitchen and though
she has allocated cupboards decides to use what she wants creating
an untenable environment with insults and foul language hurled
at me anytime I make mention of the untidiness and her behaviour
in the house, playing loud music etc.
have served her notice to leave. The agreement was for six
months but since she is in breach of the agreement, do I have
the right to evict? She is claiming she is not going to leave
the house. What can I do?
she a tenant or a lodger sharing the house in which you are
resident? If a lodger, you can give her ‘reasonable
notice’ which would be one week, I would say, and would
serve a notice to quit on her. If she remains, you would go
to court and get an order.
However, if she
is a tenant, you would have to serve her a notice seeking
possession using ground 12, ‘Any obligation of the tenancy
(other than one related to the payment of rent) has been broken
or not performed’. This is a two week notice. However,
the difficulty is that it is a discretionary ground and a
court would have to decide whether it was reasonable for you
to want possession.
really like to evict on a discretionary ground so it could
be an expensive and futile exercise. If you want to go that
route, you must get supporting evidence from the other tenants,
make sure you have copies of the warning letters you have
sent about this appalling behaviour.
You could throw
in ground 13, ‘The condition of the dwelling-house or
any of the common parts has deteriorated owing to acts of
waste by, or the neglect or default of, the tenant or any
other person..’, and also ground 14, ‘“The
tenant or any other person residing in the dwelling-house
has been guilty of conduct which is a nuisance or annoyance
to adjoining occupiers, or has been convicted of using the
dwelling-house or allowing the dwelling-house to be used for
immoral or illegal purposes has caused or is likely to cause
a nuisance or annoyance to adjoining occupiers’.
I really think,
if you can keep the other tenants pacified, the best way to
handle this is to serve a s.21 to end when the tenancy ends.
If she insists on remaining, you would still have to go to
court, but there should then be no argument, she could not
turn up in tears and say she didn’t know she was being
a nuisance, as you need give no reason to the court why you
wish to evict.
Agent could not help
My problem is that I let my one bedroom
flat through an agent using its full management service. The
firm found a tenant who moved in last July but who has since
caused severe problems for me due to late payment of rent and
to his neighbours due to constant noise and anti social behaviour.
Following continued abuse of his shorthold tenancy agreement
I asked the agent to serve a section 21 notice last November,
giving him two month’s notice to quit.
the anniversary of this he claimed no knowledge of the notice
and refused to leave. The agent then informed me the firm
could do no more and recommended I seek legal advice. Having
instructed a solicitor, she told me to write to the tenant
with 48 hours notice that I would be inspecting the property.
I did this and found the property was empty of furniture with
only a few personnel belongings left. The keys have still
not been surrendered and as far as I am aware I have no legal
right to change the locks and re-let.
I have decided to
take action myself. I have the forms for possession and accelerated
possession and would like to know the time difference between
the two. I am also aware that the accelerated procedure does
not include reclaim of costs and overdue rent. If I take this
path can I claim the rent arrears in the small claims court?
I am sorry to
sound like I have a downer on agents, as I work with some
very good ones. The very least this agent should have done
is advise you, in January, that the next step after the expiry
of the notice, is that you go to court for possession. A date
for accelerated possession should come through within about
two to three weeks, depending on how much the court has to
deal with. I am sorry that it has taken until now for this
question to come through, and again, I wonder how much help
your solicitor has been. Having been to the property (and
you should not have entered without invitation) and finding
it abandoned, I would have expected the solicitor to advise
either a) the tenant has vacated to save a court case as costs
would be awarded against him, or b) that you pursue the route
for abandoned properties, which is a 28 day notice to quit.
Did the agents not get a next-of-kin? Have they attempted
to trace him at all? Which brings me to your final point –
yes, you can pursue him through the small claims court –
but can you trace him? Have you an address? Without an address,
there is little the small claims court can do. Sorry.
We bought a property on the basis that
the seller would rent this back from us. She did not supply
us with the keys, she has not paid her rent and is in arrears.
We are trying to gain access to the property to carry out works,
but she is refusing us entry.
process do I need to follow legally to gain entry to the property?
You would need
to get a court order to gain access, but to be honest I would
not bother until I had got this tenant out. You entered into
an agreement with her, that she would rent it from you and
behave in a tenant-like manner. She has broken that agreement.
You are in business, or it is at least an investment and cannot
afford to allow this to continue. If she is like this now,
what will she be like in a couple of years? As soon as she
is eight weeks in arrears, serve her a s.8, ground 8 notice,
which gives her 2 weeks notice. If she realises that you mean
business, she may become more amenable and sort the rent out
– you don’t need to act on the notice, if you
don’t want to.
I think I would be very concerned that the solicitor who did
the conveyancing did not insist on receiving the keys. It
may be worthwhile discussing with him, in case you need assistance
in taking her to court. As soon as you get possession, change
the locks – but not until she vacates, as otherwise,
it would be seen as illegal eviction and harassment.
I have a house split into four flats. In November 2007 a tenant
moved into number 3. The rent of £280 was paid for one
month but since has been paid in bits and bobs by either him
in cash or via his friend’s Paypal account. He is now
two months behind and I want him out.
He has no tenancy
agreement as he has avoided me each time I have been round.
He did not pay a deposit. Does he have any rights or can I
just evict him?
am afraid he still has the right to legal notice. You need
a s.8, ground 8 notice and should use grounds 8, 10 and 11
– 10 and 11 are discretionary grounds but cover you
in case he pays a sum that takes you below 8 weeks arrears
when it gets to court.
If I had a tenant
that behaved like this, he would not last beyond the first
six months. I also would not give keys or access to the property
without him receiving a tenant agreement. If there is no tenancy
agreement, you cannot use the accelerated possession procedure,
which makes things quite difficult when eviction is required.
Lodger not responding
Last year I inherited a flat from my
late father. There was a lodger who had been living in the house
for 23 years. I served notice for him to quit the flat and extended
the notice by two months at his request. Now I cannot reach
him on the phone - it always goes to the answer machine. In
what way may I remove him legally.
am afraid this is another question that is difficult to answer.
You refer to him as a lodger – is he a lodger, having
lodged with your father, or is he a tenant of a property owned
by your father?
If he was a lodger, he has had the necessary notice and you
should be able to go for a court order to remove him, though
I would be inclined to write to him and offer him a little
longer, as he may have been unable to find anywhere.
If he was a tenant,
his tenancy began prior to the 1988 Housing Act, and he is
therefore a protected tenant. He has very good security and
as in an earlier answer, it will be difficult to evict unless
there is suitable alternative accommodation. I think you need
to see a solicitor who specialises in housing law.
Wanting to sell
I am the owner of a studio flat which
was passed onto me by my father. There is currently a tenant
in the property - a lady of approx 60 years old who she has
been a tenant since May 1982. There is no tenancy agreement
or anything in writing except a rent book. She is an excellent
tenant and pays for much of the decoration herself. However
the time has come when I need to sell the property.
I understand that
I am unable to evict her (not that I would want to) and am
considering selling the property with her as a tenant. Her
current rent is £300 per month which is currently about
£100 under the market price.
My problem is that
with vacant possession the flat is worth about £110,000
whilst with the tenant only about £70,000. Is this right?
Also would it be possible to advertise the flat suggesting
that an investor could apply to put the rent up and this in
itself would allow for the flat to be advertised at a higher
price? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
I am afraid it is correct – vacant possession allows
a buyer to do what they like with it, in certain circumstances
to demolish and re-build expensive new developments, whilst
a tenant more or less dictates what can be done with the building.
You say she has been an excellent tenant.
discuss the situation with her? Would she move if you compensated
her? A difference of £40,000 should put you in a position
where you can be generous, if she has any inclination at all
to move. However, no pressure must be put on her, it is only
a suggestion. If you sell with her in possession, any investor
worth his salt and buying a property with a sitting tenant,
would know that an application can be put through every two
years to the Rent Assessment Committee to have the rent increased.
It would probably not get to market levels, as they limit
the amount of increase that can be applied for. Has she been
happy with rent increases over the past years? Has the rent
increased recently? If it is due for a rise now, that may
make it seem a more attractive proposition.
One good turn
In 1992 a friend of mine had a stroke
so I allowed him to live with me on the basis that he was a
lodger. However, I then moved out of the house but allowed him
to stay in the room which he occupied on the ground floor. Since
then, he has done major structural work to my house and has
made a new kitchen and bathroom and is currently renting out
the top of my house a self contained flat. I sought legal advice
but was told that as he didn't have a tenancy I did not have
a leg to stand on.
then took me to court saying that I verbally gave him my property,
which I obviously did not (as was confirmed by the court).
The case left me over £10,000 in debt.
He is threatening
and aggressive and if I go to my house to collect my mail
will argue with my children and deny them access to the house.
If they go to pick up my letters he will not give them my
mail. Please help.
I am really sorry,
but I cannot help on this – you need a good solicitor.
Whilst you lived in the property, he had minimal security,
he was your lodger and could have evicted him at any time.
You moved out, so he took on the status of a tenant, but as
he was not given a tenancy agreement, presuming you moved
out before February 1997, he automatically became an assured
tenant. This gives him a lot of security. You don’t
mention – is he paying rent? A solicitor may be able
to make a case that if no rent is being paid, he has paid
rent in kind by the work he has done on your property and
may go for possession on that basis. Check the telephone directory
for solicitors experienced in housing work and very best of
luck! This is a very poor return for your kindness to him.
We have a tenant who only paid the first month’s rent.
She is now two months in arrears and has been served with
a section 8 notice. She has also changed the locks, and our
agent didn't check references properly and we find that her
‘ex-landlady’ is her sister who seems to be living
We would like to get
her out quickly and intend to go to court but we are not sure
about the next step. Could you tell us about the difference
between a N5 possession order and a N5B accelerated possession?
The N5 possession
order is the standard notice, which is what you need for a
section 8 (rent arrears) notice. N5B Accelerated possession
notice is only used for certain grounds, like a section 21,
2 month notice, so does not apply here. Complete the N5, along
with the other document you should have been given, for Particulars
of Claim and take to court. If you rent again, make sure your
agent does a proper job on the references and asks for at
least 2 past landlords – the last (even when not a relative)
could give a good reference to a bad tenant to get rid of
them. The one before last has nothing to gain by giving a
good reference to a bad tenant.
needed by landlord
Landlord moves abroad to work, he lets his house for 12 months.
His employment ceases and now wants to move back into his
home - this is the only property he owns. The tenants have
eight months left on there tenancy agreement. Can the landlord
issue notice to quit and gain possession before the end of
Not without a
ground, he can’t. There is ground 1, that the property
used to be your main home and you require it back to live
in, but this cannot be used before the fixed term ends and
a notice would have to be given to the tenant before the tenancy
started that you may seek to re-possess on this ground. You
could try and negotiate with the tenants, and see if they
are sympathetic to you, but I think I would not be happy if
I was your tenant. You should not harass them at all, nor
of course, illegally evict, but they may be prepared to move
if you provide some small compensation, for example, moving
expenses. By the way, it is a Notice Seeking Possession or
a Notice of Possession Proceedings – a Notice to Quit
is where there is an abandoned property.
Bank wants to force sale
I have a mortgage on a house that was an ex-council house which
I purchased some years back. It is the house that my mother
has lived in for 48 years and continues to live in. In effect
I am landlord and Mum is Tennant, she would like never to move,
she is now mid 70's age.
Very sadly I have had some business problems which have become
extreme. The most important issue is a £25,000 debt with
NatWest which dates back to 2002. I borrowed the money personally
to prop up the business while Nat West processed a loan application
for the business. When this came through I was to pay myself
back via the business. Sadly for reasons never quite made clear,
NatWest decided not to go forward with the business loan and
I was left with the personal debt.
was initially an unsecured facility but sometime last year
they took me to court to turn the loan into a secured facility
and to get a second charge against the property I own (in
which my mother lives). They succeeded in this and in getting
a CCJ against me.
Now they say they
want to proceed with a forced sale on the property and will
be applying to the court for this and I will be advised of
this via themselves or more likely a solicitor within the
next 30 days.
I have not told my mother quite yet as I want to try to find
out if she has any rights in this situation, or is there any
way I can stop this happening.
I have no funds to
make any form of legal defence. The mortgage is £81,000
approx. I am not sure on the value of the house but I doubt
it would be worth more than £95,000 especially in a
As far as I am
aware, your mother will be in the same position as any tenant
of any landlord where a sale is forced – that is to
say she has no rights. You must see a solicitor immediately,
I presume you have asked the bank whether there is any possibility
of your mother staying there and paying rent to them? It’s
a long shot, but I don’t see what else you can do. Good
Tenant who quit wants to return
I have two tenants - young women, aged around 20 - who are joint
tenants on a assured shorthold tenancy that expires in about
two months time. One of the tenants ('A') has just informed
me that the other tenant ('B') left the property two months
ago and before that was not fully contributing her share of
the rent, but that 'B' now wants to move back in.
Tenant 'A' does not want this to happen as she would only end
up with the same problems. Tenant 'A' has also expressed, incidentally,
an interest in buying the property at some stage (and I am not
averse to selling, providing it is at the market price). I should
mention that the rent has always been paid on time and in full
by Tenant 'A', who has taken responsibility for this from the
It would seem to me that the only course of action I can take
here is to resolve the current situation is for me to issue
a Section 21 notice so as to formally end the tenancy.
What I am not certain is whether I can do this for tenant 'B'
only (the one who apparently left and now wants to move back
in). If I can, tenant 'A' would be happy to take on full responsibility
for the tenancy. Also, if I can, would I need to then draw up
a new tenancy agreement to commence when the old agreement expires,
or would I simply have the existing agreement amended without
reference to Tenant 'B'?
On the other hand, am I obliged to issue the notice to quit
to both tenants, so as to fully terminate the existing arrangements?
If so, can I then issue a new agreement to tenant 'A'? Any notice
to quit I issue will be organised via the local estate agent
who found the tenants but who does not manage the tenancy.
I should add that I am unable to visit the house and sort out
the matter personally as I am living in Australia. The house,
by the way, is my sole UK property and my intention is to either
return in three years time to live in it (once due notice has
been given to any tenant in place) or to sell it (again once
the property has been legally vacated) and use the proceeds
to buy another house in the UK to move into.
end the original tenancy totally, just to be on the safe side.
From what you say, it does not sound as though you have spoken
to tenant B and it is possible, therefore, that there is more
to it than you have been told. Ending it makes it very clear
to B that there is no entry back to the property. Then issue
a new tenancy to your tenant A, who whether she has told the
full truth or not, is a very good tenant.
Tenants not paying or signing
I have been letting my property out for
a number of months, I currently have two tenants living in there
and am having problems with them - namely refusing to sign a
new assured shorthold tenancy agreement when their original
one was up, and not paying any rent for the last two months.
I need to either get them out of the property, or get them to
sign a new AST and pay any rent monies due as I am in the process
of selling my property to a buyer who has agreed to keep the
tenants on, but who will not complete until either a new AST
is in place, or the property has been made vacant. Despite repeated
attempts to contact the tenants I have not been able to speak
to them for a number of weeks, and am finding it difficult to
discover what my rights are in these circumstances, as the term
of the AST is now up, so no one is in a contract.
The tenants originally
moved in at the beginning of July, and signed up to a three
month AST, expiring on 7 October 7. This was handled by a
friend of mine acting as a letting agent on behalf of her
father's property management service. The tenants indicated
that they wanted to remain in the property and renew their
AST to continue for another three months. My agent drew up
a new AST and this was meant to be signed by both parties
in October. Around the same time I decided to sell the property
and gave the tenants indication (through my agent) that I
intended to do this, but that they shouldn't worry that they
would be homeless as I was negotiating with the father of
my letting agent, who was willing to purchase the property,
keep on the existing tenants and continue to have his daughter
act as agent.
The purchaser made
an offer on the property, which I accepted, and we began the
usual processes of buying/selling a property. The information
was cascaded to the tenants, who then refused to sign a new
AST as they declared that this would be void once my agent's
father bought the property. We did try to explain that the
new owner would be obliged to honour any existing agreement,
but they would still not sign any paperwork. They also began
to be very uncooperative as tenants, became very hard to contact
in terms of trying to arrange for my buyer's mortgage valuation
to take place etc. However they DID pay rent for the month
of October, and again for the month of November. Although
I was still hoping that they would sign the AST this did not
materialise, however as they continued to pay rent I didn't
think there was anything sinister going on, and we would continue
to act by the rules of the AST although no formal agreement
was in place.
At the beginning of
December the next month's rent was due and it did not come,
neither myself nor my agent received any contact from the
tenants to explain why this was - or for them to let us know
they were having financial difficulties etc. To be honest
the rent had rarely been received on time prior to this date
so I didn't think too much of it for the first couple of weeks,
however my agent was leaving messages for them, and put a
note through the door reminding them that the rent was due
and asking for payment. When it started drawing towards January
(and I still hadn't had rent) my agent started pressing them
further but will no success, it is now mid-January and I have
not only had no rent from the tenants for December, but none
for January either and I am completely clueless as to what
their intentions are now as we have not been able to contact
the tenants for several weeks.
The sale of my property
cannot complete until the tenants either vacate the premises,
or sign a new AST - however I feel that the latter option
is unlikely as the behaviour of the tenants of late leads
me to believe they intend to stay in the property and not
pay rent for as long as they can. I am finding it very difficult
to ascertain what my legal standpoint on this now is. I believe
that although the original AST was for three months, the tenants
are protected under the Housing Act for six months, meaning
the period of cover would have expired on 7 January. During
this time I believe I could have served a section 8 or 21
in order to remove the tenants from my property.
Now that the cover period is over I'm not sure what my rights
are at all. I have read somewhere that if the cover period
ends the landlord can serve notice for possession, but they
need to give the tenants two month’s notice if they
intend to do this (and don't have to give a reason). However
I am in the situation where the tenants already owe me two
month’s rent, and I cannot afford to have them stay
another two months without paying. I need to get the property
sold, or have other tenants in there who are willing to pay
the rent, so the current tenants need to be out ASAP.
It appears that I
have no right to enter the property without the tenants’
permission, there does not appear to be an official 'notice'
I can give them as there is no AST and no cover in place,
basically there is very little I can do to get them out which
is not illegal. Last week I gave them a letter saying that
if the rent was not in my bank by the end of the week I would
assume that they intended to vacate and would expect them
to be out ASAP so I could begin finding alternative tenants.
They have completely ignored all attempts at contact and now
I am extremely worried about how I will get them out, whether
they've damaged the property etc. I'm really stuck to be honest!
I have a feeling you
will say all I can do is give them the two month’s notice
to get possession and then enforce it if necessary. However,
this will then mean that I will have had no rent payment for
four months, my buyer may well withdraw his offer on my flat
because of the long wait, and the tenants may 'moonlight'
just before the two months is up, so I can't recover my monies.
If a new tenancy agreement was not
signed, the tenancy automatically converted to a statutory
periodic tenancy. As you have a tenancy agreement, albeit
for the first three months only, you should be able to issue
two month’s notice, provided the tenancy has run six
months either before or at the expiry of the notice. However,
as they owe you more than eight weeks/two months, get a section
8 notice and complete it citing grounds 8, 10 and 11. This
is only a two week notice and provided the notice ends at
the end of the tenancy period (ie if the tenancy runs from
the fifth of the month to the fourth of the next, your notice
should end on the fourth). The day after it expires you should
go to court for an order. The tenants are only protected from
the accelerated possession procedure, not from eviction when
other grounds apply.
The grounds must
use the wording in the act as follows:
Ground 8 - Both at the date of the service of the notice under
section 8 of this Act relating to the proceedings for possession
and at the date of the hearing –
a) if rent is payable weekly or fortnightly, at least eight
weeks’ rent is unpaid;
b) if rent is payable monthly, at least two months’
rent is unpaid;
c) if rent is payable quarterly, at least one quarter’s
rent is more than three months in arrears; and
d) if rent is payable yearly, at least three months’
rent is more than three months in arrears;
and for the purpose of this ground “rent” means
rent lawfully due from the tenant.
(NB: this ground
was amended in the 1996 Housing Act. In the 1988 Act, time
periods for rent arrears in a) were 13 weeks rent and in b)
were three months)
grounds on which court may order possession
Ground 10 –
Some rent lawfully due from the tenant –
a) is unpaid on the date on which the proceedings for possession
b) except where subsection (1) (b) of section 8 of this Act
in arrears at the date of the service of the notice under
that section relating to those proceedings.
Ground 11 – Whether or not any rent is in arrears on
the date on which proceedings for possession are begun, the
tenant has persistently delayed paying rent which has become
If ground 8 applies,
so do the other two and just offer some protection in case
the tenant decides to pay something to take the arrears below
Abandoned following notice
The tenants of the flat we let have not
paid rent for the past five months and have been served with
both a section 8 and a section 21 notice. Both notices have
now expired and we visited the property but been unable to contact
the tenants - certain of their belongings remain in the property
and they have not returned the keys, but it is not clear whether
the tenants have abandoned the property or not. I have spoken
to the people in the neighbouring flats who state they have
not seen the tenants for over two weeks and despite leaving
written messages and telephone messages we have been unable
to contact them.
have been given conflicting advice on whether it is better
to pursue possession through the court, issue an abandonment
notice or simply assume the tenants have gone and re-take
possession. What is your advice?
You should not
just re-take possession, despite the strong indications that
they have left. You could issue an abandonment notice, but
this will mean that for 28 days you are still waiting to get
the property. However, on the 29th day, if you have had no
contact from the tenant, you should be safe to change the
locks. The final option is let it go through the court. That
will cost you in the region of £150, and you may still
have to wait, depending on how busy the court is, for the
order. Using a Notice to Quit is cheaper and probably will
take no longer than the court process.
I want to give my lodger notice because
he is in arrears with rent. This decision I have already made
and have written a letter stating when I need him to leave by.
We do have an agreement in place that states one month’s
notice but as he is in breach of this for owing me three month’s
rent I have given him until Friday 18 January – allowing
just over one week’s notice. But the problem is that he
has not returned back from his Christmas trip home (or wherever
he has gone after that). His things are still in his room but
I cannot get hold of him via his phone (it appears that it has
been disconnected) and have no other contact details for him
at all (he is currently not employed and on sickness benefit
so have no employer to contact). I am worried he will not return
soon and I will not be able to re-let the room because his things
are still in there. I assume I have to serve notice in writing
to him in person, but if he doesn't appear soon, I wondered
if there was time limit I have to wait for before I clear his
things out of his room? I'm not sure what to do on this one
but believe there must be way of sorting it out as I can't have
his things in there forever! Do I have to report him as a missing
person for instance?
you get no next of kin when he moved in? Have you met none
of his friends that could assist with this? I think he may
feel it is a bit extreme to have him reported missing, but
the police may be able to help trace him if he has a vehicle.
I would not remove his goods just yet, particularly as he
is unaware he is being asked to leave and, even if he guessed,
would assume he had one month. See what the police say, but
for future reference, ensure you get references and next of
kin, who may be prepared to take responsibility for his goods.
Gaining possession of tied house
We have a tenant who lives in 'tied'
housing. His contract of employment says that if he leaves the
job he has to vacate the property. Unfortunately he has been
on long term sick leave since last summer, and there is now
no possibility of him being able to return to work with us.
We therefore have no choice but to dismiss him so that we can
employ a replacement for him. Obviously we also want him to
vacate the 'tied' house so that this can be given to the new
we give him his four week’s dismissal notice, will this
also count as a Notice to Quit the 'tied' house, or will we
have to put specific wording in the letter to cover the house,
or will we have to issue a separate notice for the house.
Obviously we want
to do things correctly, because we need the house vacant as
soon as possible so that the new employee will be able to
I would expect
your tenant will realise he must leave the tied property,
but may feel he deserves formal notice. This would be given
under ground 16 (the tenancy was granted because the tenant
was employed by the landlord, or a former landlord, but he
or she is no longer employed by the landlord) which requires
two month’s notice. He may be prepared to go in less
than two months, particularly if you assist him with removal
expenses, but if not, he will need legal notice.
My mother has died and in her will states
that a house she bought 18 years ago in her sole name has to
be sold and shared equally between the four siblings. My sister
has lived in the house for the 18 years, constantly making excuses
to my mother as to why she could not move out. She has a live-in
boyfriend who owns a house himself that he is renting out. She
has also been declared bankrupt and is currently claiming benefits.
sister is being very unfair on her siblings. I would suggest
a family meeting where you discuss the sale and the notice
which you as a family feel it is fair she should have –
I would suggest two or three months, which should be sufficient
time for the partner to evict the tenants from his own property.
Your sister needs to accept she has to move out when required
or has the property valued professionally and obtains a mortgage
to pay the three of you off. Instruct an estate agent. If
she remains obdurate, you will need to see a solicitor, which
will reduce your inheritance, but I cannot see she will win
this one as she was not a tenant.
Validity of 2004 order
I obtained a court order for possession
in March 2004 to evict a tenant from a house I own. Due to various
personal circumstances I did not apply for a Warrant of Execution.
I have continued to accept rent but there has been no new tenancy.
I now wish to evict the tenant. Am I able to apply for Bailiff’s
on the Order dated March 2004 or must I start the whole procedure
would be dubious about using this, though by all means, try.
However, I think if I was the tenant I would be kicking up
quite a stink, on the basis that whatever the reason you decided
to seek possession very nearly four years ago, it may not
still apply and the tenant could rightly say that he had insufficient
time/notice to find alternative accommodation. I think you
need to start the process again.
Long or short?
We started letting our property in August 2007, giving the tenants
a six month shorthold tenancy agreement. The tenants have never
paid any rent, they have broken the terms of the tenancy agreement
(pets, smoking, noise..), they have caused a nuisance to neighbours,
they falsified information encouraging us to sign the tenancy
agreement (lied about previous addresses so we would not find
out they were evicted from their last house for all the same
reasons we want to evict them!)
Section 21 was included in the original tenancy agreement
that was signed.
After two months of
non payment of rent, we issued a Section 8 Notice listing
the above grounds. The notice was issued by our letting agent.
We waited the required
two weeks and then requested a court date based on the various
grounds listed above and sent the required documents to the
We finally got a court
date in December but the judge refused to conduct the hearing
because our witness statements relating to the additional
grounds (noise, nuisance etc) had not been written in the
correct way, even though the tenants admitted to paying no
rent for four months. The judge asked for the witness statements
to be re-done and for a new date to be found for a hearing.
We now have a new
court date in March, but the tenancy agreement will expire
on the 3 February!
Are we able to start
the accelerated procedure after the date of 3 February has
passed, given that we have already begun the 'long' procedure?
The priority for us
is to get the tenants out of the property. We know that with
the accelerated procedure it isn't possible to request the
money for the rental arrears and that is OK. What is not clear
is whether, having started the Section 8 process we are still
able to use the accelerated process, once the tenancy agreement
expires. (Our other problem is that we are living abroad so
coming back to attend court hearings is difficult and costly
which is why the accelerated process is more practical).
If you are
sure the section 21 was issued correctly when the tenancy
agreement was issued, on 4 February apply to court for accelerated
possession. Many landlords, and I advise it, often issue both
types of notices, as if the tenant pays sufficient to take
the arrears amount to less than 8 weeks, which means a section
8 could not proceed, they can continue on a section 21. Good
Two years ago I bought a house in Northern Ireland with my son
from a friend who was being made bankrupt. We agreed that he
could stay on for a couple of months after the purchase went
through so as to give him time to sort himself out. As time
went by he came up with a string of sob stories as to why he
needed more time and is now refusing to leave point blank.
He has never paid
rent and has no tenancy agreement, and is now wrecking the
house. I have also found out that six months ago he ordered
£300 worth of heating oil in my name and has not paid
the bill (and has been hiding the threatening letters sent
to me at the house.
I have had my solicitor
send him a letter telling him he has a month to leave.
My question is: what
action can I take to remove him or stop him entering the house.
I believe the
legislation in Ireland is the same as in England. I would
therefore say he is an illegal occupier and would issue a
28 day Notice to Quit. After the expiry of the notice, you
would go to court for a repossession order. This will usually
be immediate. If your ‘friend’ remains, you would
have to get a bailiff’s to enforce the judgement. You
would then go to the house, with the bailiff, who would usually
ask a policeman to accompany, and you would take a locksmith.
If needs be, the locksmith would remove the locks, the bailiff
would enter with the police and the illegal occupier would
be encouraged to leave. At that point, the locksmith would
install a new lock. I don’t know how good a friend he
was, but if he realises you will take it as far as you can
to remove him, is it possible he will go quietly? I hope so.
I have a tenant who has been put into prison for 13 years,
I know the children’s belongings have been removed from
the house and I have had one phone call from the next of kin
to say to use the deposit monies for one month’s rent
while they empty the property. There are now only a few days
before the next payment is due and telephone messages, letters,
serving 28 day notice are being ignored. I am in possession
of a section 21 notice served on day the tenancy was signed.
Where do I stand on removing the tenant’s items, as
these items are quality furniture and the property has been
You have a section
21, so I would go straight to court with it and a copy of
the tenancy agreement. This is the accelerated possession
procedure. The court will order possession. BUT - if after
this date the goods remain (and I would try and contact next
of kin to advise what is happening), you still cannot remove
goods. Only a bailiff can do that, so you will need to get
a bailiff’s warrant/appointment. For future reference,
make sure you state in the tenancy agreement how long you
are prepared to store goods for.
I have a rental property which has just had a tenant in it.
As he failed to pay the correct rent and also behaved badly
during his tenancy, I served a Section 21 notice on him and
also a Section 8 notice. Although the section 21 notice has
a little way to run he has left the property but has not given
back the keys. I would like to know how I get these back and
when I can legally gain access to the property.
I am afraid that
if he has not returned them, you must treat this as an abandonment
and serve a 28 days Notice to Quit. If day 29 you have heard
nothing from the tenant, you can change the locks as you are
unlikely to get the keys back. Although you have served a
s.21 and s.8 at the expiry of either of these notices you
would need to go to court, which costs. The notice to quit
does mean you can change the locks. Failure to go through
the procedure means you could be accused of illegal eviction
or harassment, if the tenant returns.
I act as my brother’s attorney and look after his rental
property for him: he is ill and is living in Australia. The
house is in Cardiff and the sitting tenant has been there
for about 15 years. The first four of these were as non-rent
paying guest of by brother who was also living in the property.
There is no written
agreement and the informal arrangement was that the tenant
would pay the interest-only mortgage and council costs and
insurance and could look after the house until my brother
However, as he is
now unlikely to come back he wishes to sell the house as soon
I have served a section
21 notice on the tenant requiring possession. Can you help
with what sort of tenancy this would be and if the tenant
would be a protected tenancy? What would be the best route
to gaining possession?
My belief would
be that the tenancy dated from 1996. I think you will struggle
to get possession. A section 21 can really only be used where
the paperwork exists to support what the situation is –
ie dates, which generally mean a tenancy agreement. A clear
rent account may help, showing when the costs started being
met by the tenant.
is that it depends when in 1996 the tenancy started and what
support there is to show this is a tenancy without a tenancy
agreement. The 1996 Housing Act, which amended the 1988, allowed
for an assured shorthold tenancy to be created, even without
a tenancy agreement – prior to that, if a notice of
assured shorthold was not issued, the tenancy was automatically
an assured tenancy, which gave good rights of occupation and
is not easy to end without a good reason (which you have not
given me). The easiest way will be if the tenant voluntarily
agrees to move, but he may be very comfortable after 15 years.
You could try a s.21, but you cannot use the accelerated possession
procedure without a tenancy agreement, so you do need your
supporting documentation for court.
I was hoping if you can inform me what actions need taking
in order to give an eviction notice to tenants.
The tenancy agreement
is up in two months and the people are wanting to go into
a council house as soon as possible as they are unable to
pay rent of the property. They have been told that they cannot
get a council house unless they receive an eviction notice
and are declared homeless. I am happy for them to leave my
property but need advice on giving a notice.
Is it just a letter
to the council or are there special documents that need filling?
21 is the easiest, though this is a two month notice. You
can handwrite it yourself, so long as you use something along
these lines: (ie change dates and names, but rest should be
Your tenancy of
the above mentioned property expires on 5 July 2005. I now
find that I do not want the tenancy to continue and therefore
ask that you accept this letter as Notice Seeking Possession.
As specified in
the 1988 Housing Act (amended 1996), section 21, I hereby
give you the two month’s notice as required by law,
commencing 6 May to end 5 July 2005.
I will contact
you two weeks before the end of the Notice to discuss the
arrangements for the hand over of keys/property inspection.
Should you remain in occupation after 5 July, I will ask the
Court to order re-possession.
Please do not
hesitate to contact me, if you wish to discuss this matter
You should contact
Housing Advice Services/Housing Aid/Citizens Advice Bureau/a
Law Centre or a Solicitor if you wish to discuss your rights
as a tenant.
J. Smith (Landlord)
Always use words
in the Notice when writing the date, it means there can be
no argument about dates when the notice begins and ends.
I own a house managed by an agent. The tenants moved in at
the end of 2006. The agent set up a tenancy agreement expiring
in June 2007. The contract did not allow for any notice to
Subsequently the agent
produced a second tenancy agreement running from June to December
2007, again with a stated term of: six months with a break
option of one month’s written clear notice to be given
by either tenant or landlord to vacate the property.
The rent is paid in
cleared funds in advance of 10th of each month.
What is the earliest
date I can get my house back? I have asked to give one months
notice but have been told that might cause 'difficulties'
and that I should serve notice to expire when the tenancy
expires. But I have to be out of my own rented property by
the end of November. Where do I stand? What difficulties are
the agents referring to? Am I being paranoid?
are that to end the tenancy using the straightforward method,
the tenant has to have two full month’s notice which
cannot end before the end of the tenancy. The same, of course,
applies to you – your landlord needs to give you two
months. You could try and negotiate with the tenant, but be
very careful that nothing you say could be construed as illegal
eviction or harassment. I am afraid I can think of no advice
which would allow recovery of the property sooner than the
end of the tenancy, unless the tenant wants to.
I would be grateful if you could clarify whether, after a
section 21 notice has been served so that the property might
be sold, the outgoing tenant has the right to refuse access
by an estate agent or landlord for viewing?
We use a tenancy agreement
with a clause stating that viewings can be conducted within
the final two months at reasonable times of the day and with
advance warning, and our solicitor has advised that the wording
of the clause is approved buy the Office of Fair Trading standards
and is therefore enforceable. However I have read elsewhere
that a tenant’s right to ‘quiet enjoyment’
overrides any such clause.
is very important, but to be honest, I would not want anyone
viewing the property if the tenant is still there –
would they tidy, clean it? Would they tell the viewers lies
about the property? I think that for the sake of a month,
I’d keep prospective buyers away. Even if the tenant
is in agreement to viewings, I think two months is a bit much,
final month only is the norm.
For the last four months I have had a lodger in my spare room,
with myself as live-in landlady. She has been late with the
rent every month.
About seven weeks
ago I wrote her a letter saying that this situation was intolerable
and that any further repeat would result in me giving her
a week's notice.
At the beginning of
October I went away and she said her mother would pay the
rent (although the date of payment kept moving, but in fact
no rent was paid.
On my return I found
she had disappeared but most of her stuff was still in her
room. Over the last week I have tried speaking to her but
when I did make contact all I got was ‘I can't talk
I did receive a text
from her saying ‘hello, my mum is not well and that
is where I have been the past few days. This is a serious
problem. My dad said he will give you the (deposit) cheque
and the £490 (sum outstanding) later in the month because
we needed the money’.
I have found my lodger
has lied about a lot of things and takes stuff from within
my part of the house, moving them into her room (nothing valuable
but I have told her off numerous times for not asking me first!)).
I happened to know where mother worked and called to see if
she was off sick – she wasn’t (although it is
possible, perhaps, that my lodger may have a step mother who
she is choosing to call 'mum').
Anyway I left another
answerphone message enquiring about her 'mother', when would
she be returning, and the like, and reminded her that she
had agreed to pay the outstanding sums during the month. When
there was no reply I sent another text saying 'I hope your
mum is ok? As per your last text I fully expect all payments
to be in my bank or in 'my hand' by the agreed date. However
due to your track record, I'm starting your week's notice
from today (Friday just in case this money fails to materialise.
This is non-negotiable and no excuses!
Can you advise me
as to what my rights are if she doesn't pay by the agreed,
or if she does pay but only within the week's notice period?
I may be a cynic,
but I don’t think you will get the money and your only
recourse then is to go to the small claims court. However,
even if she pays some or all of the money, you cannot go on
like this. I would accept any money with a smile, assure her
you will provide her with a reference that she had left no
debt (no more) but that the eviction stands. If she won’t
go, go to court – she has no rights to stay if you have
given her reasonable notice – one week is finre. For
future reference, don’t give keys until you have received
the deposit and the first week’s or month’s rent
in advance – and if payment is made by cheque, not until
the cheque has cleared.
My partner has been
renting his house near Manchester for around four years but,
for the last three years, following difficulties with the
letting agents not arranging maintenance and the like, he
has been dealing directly with the tenant rather than using
an agency. However, as he knew the tenant, he has never made
a formal tenancy agreement, only a verbal arrangement.
We are getting married
this year and would like to buy a house in London. To do this
we need to sell my partner’s house. We gave the tenant
notice that we would be looking to sell at the end of this
year. However, she has says there is 'no way' she will move
out. She said she would like to buy the property but she is
on benefit and cannot afford to and there is nowhere else
that suits her.
My partner has decided
to wait, hoping she will change her mind. However, she is
not being very reasonable and I am concerned that we should
be following some form of proper process and paper trail.
Can you advise us?
You could try
selling it as a tenanted property, though whether you would
get the full price is difficult to say. The difficulty is
that unless there is a good reason (ground) for evicting the
tenant, you are limited in the steps you can take. Without
a written tenancy agreement you cannot use the accelerated
possession procedure, for example.
be worth contacting the letting agent to see is a tenancy
agreement was issued by the firm at the outset of the tenancy
and whether it has a copy in its archives. I think I would
be inclined to issue a new tenancy agreement for six months,
(she may accept a new tenancy if she thinks that you have
changed your minds, so make a note that you will serve notice
after four months to end at the end of the tenancy). I know
it extends her tenancy a little longer than you would want,
but I think this is the only way of being certain to get her
out. I know agents can sometimes not do what is wanted, but
they would generally keep the paperwork in order and can save
this kind of unpleasantness with acquaintances who abuse the
I have a tenant whom I am in the process of evicting
as he is now over five months in arrears with his rent. I am
waiting for a court listing. In the meantime, the lease does
allow for me to enter the property for inspection or to show
the property to a perspective buyer provided I give 24 hour’s
notice. I sent a hand written letter giving the tenant notice
of longer than this but he has refused me entry? Is there any
way I can gain entry with my own keys? I am feeling very frustrated
with the whole legal process.
I would not recommend
it; some tenants get into difficulties with the rent but regret
it and remain amenable to the landlord. This is clearly not
the type of tenant we have here. I think he is the type that
knows the law, would go to Citizen’s Advice or a Housing
Aid centre, tell them you have entered without his permission,
thus affecting his quiet enjoyment of the property and may
even accuse you of theft. I know it is a drag, but I really
think you should wait until you have got him out. In future,
serve a section 8, ground 8 notice as soon as the tenant is
8 weeks in arrears.
I took possession of my property recently via a court bailiff.
The tenant was not in the house at the time and therefore the
bailiff instructed me to change the locks. My tenant’s
possessions are still in the property. How long do I need to
keep these possessions, I cannot re-let the property while these
goods are in the house and am keen to get a new tenant as soon
The tenant should
have been present to arrange this with you. How long is it
since the possession? Do you have any contact numbers at all?
His mobile, next of kin, guarantor, and people you took references
from? You can make courteous enquiries of any of these. Did
he speak to any of the neighbours? For future reference, state
in your tenancy agreement how long goods left in the property
after the termination of the tenancy will be kept before disposal.
The only other option would be to store the possessions, but
this would incur a charge and if the tenant never makes contact
again you will have to pay.
If you cannot
make contact and over two weeks have passed, I would check
what furniture there is. Does it look to have any value? You
could, of course, ask the advise of the court – I recently
spoke to our local court and it seems ludicrous that having
gone to the expense of eviction and bailiff’s warrant,
the tenant can choose to inconvenience you even further by
leaving his goods in your safe keeping!
I am thinking of buying a property with
sitting tenants. Their tenancy agreement with the current owner
has ended, but they are continuing to stay at the property.
I have been told that they no longer have a 'fixed term', and
are now on a periodic stage. I've been told this makes a difference
to how and when the tenancy can be ended. If I buy this property,
would they still be in the periodic stage, or would a whole
new fixed term be created?
As only the landlord
can evict, and you need a tenancy agreement stating that you
are the landlord, I believe you would have to issue a new
tenancy agreement for the minimum six month period. If you
would really like them out of the property it is really best
for the current landlord to evict before you take over. But
of course the current landlord probably wants to maximise
his rental income by not having a vacant property whilst the
sale goes through.
receipt of notice
I rent out rooms in a
two storey house (not an HMO) and one of the tenants, who has
reached the end of her six month assured shorthold tenancy,
is refusing to go - despite being issued with the contract and
with the S21 at the start of the tenancy. She is now claiming
that she has never seen these documents before and that her
signature is a fake. Instead she is trying to stay for another
month by relying upon an earlier hand written receipt for part
payment of the deposit which I had issued a few days prior to
our signing the agreement.
this earlier meeting we agreed and put in writing that the
tenancy would begin a month later than that stated in the
subsequent contract that we both signed and which also bears
a witness signature. In support of her case, she has now persuaded
other tenants in the house to claim that they have also never
seen such documents. (I obviously have copies of everyone's
She has now stayed
two weeks beyond the six month fixed term period and has told
me to keep the deposit in lieu of the rent owed for the extra
month that she wishes to stay. However, I am unsure whether
she can be relied upon to leave (I would be happier if she
did) even though she has stated this in writing and signed
the letter (I have noticed that her signature is also now
beginning to change from that supplied at the time she signed
the contract, inventory, and deposit receipt.
I am concerned about
supplying proof of service of S21 - hand written onto the
contract (which we have both signed and bears a witness signature)
is the statement: ‘S21 issued at the time of the contract’.
Is this sufficient?
If I delay serving
the N5b will I create a periodic tenancy? I wish to avoid
this at all costs.
You read that the
courts will always favour the tenant. Do you think it likely
in this case? If I issue the N5b, how likely is it that the
court will be swayed by her allegation of a forged document
and the fact that she can supply statements from other tenants
who claim that they have not received similar paperwork (albeit
witnesses whose contract dates do not correspond with hers
and who also have a vested interest in seeing how much she
can get away with).
Since she refused
to go, the washing machine has suddenly been so seriously
damaged that the insurance company has declared it an uneconomic
repair and authorised a replacement machine. This has taken
nearly two weeks to sort out (my own inspection to check if
it warranted a call out, time spent awaiting the insurance
call out itself, time spent awaiting the report and authorisation
letter for a replacement, time spent awaiting the next available
delivery date) and I am expecting she will try and use this
against me to try and stay for longer. What can I do about
this except to offer to pay for use of a launderette? How
can I protect myself from further damage to the property being
explained away by the tenant as "wear and tear"
and then being used to offset against rent owed.
I cannot see that
a broken washing machine justifies her staying longer –
it would encourage me to go. The day after the tenancy expired,
you should have gone to court and applied for a possession
order – a section 21 is the accelerated possession procedure
and you should therefore get possession quite quickly. The
court would want to see all the paperwork – the tenancy
agreement and the section21, which you may have served at
the same time but is a separate piece of paperwork.
is that there is no defence or mitigation when a section 21
is served, so there should not be any discussion. However,
if the tenant insists on fighting this, then it will be up
to a court to decide whether they believe the signatures are
correct – I think that handwriting is very difficult
to change completely so try not to worry about it too much.
I think offering
to pay for the launderette to enable the tenant to do her
washing over the two weeks without a machine is very fair.
I am afraid there is no safeguard against further damage,
but if you take your tenant to court for any lost rent or
damage, you need a good inventory and photographs of any damages;
a court is not stupid – they will be able to tell what
appears to be normal wear and tear, and therefore a hazard
of private renting, and what is due to carelessness or malice.
Notice period required?
I rented out my house to my boyfriend
in October 2006 with a verbal agreement to get a signed lease
and for him to give me one month's rent as a deposit. I was
eight months pregnant at the time and just wanted to get my
house rented out. He is now my ex-boyfriend. Although he has
finally signed an assured shorthold tenancy agreement I got
of the internet, he has still not given me a deposit. We signed
the agreement in May 2007, with a fixed term of one year from
also has the following clause: ‘It is agreed that either
the Landlord or the Tenant may terminate this agreement at
any time after the expiry of the first six months of the term
by providing one month’s written notice to the other
party. Such termination shall not affect any rights or liabilities,
which may have arisen under any of the clauses of this agreement’.
The other problem
is that I realised only a couple of months ago that I should
have had permission from my mortgage company before I rented
out my house, which is another reason I want him to move out.
I'm desperate to get
my house in London sold before starting work in Scotland at
the end of August. I wish to serve him one month’s notice.
Can I do this? Or do I need to give two month’s notice?
If I can serve him
notice, is it a 'fixed term notice' or a 'periodic notice'?
And what should it include? Can he contest the lease because
I don't have permission from my mortgage company?
You can have anything
you like in a lease, if the person you are dealing with does
not dispute it, but is that likely to be the case? This is
a person that unfortunately, does what he wants, not what
you want – a tenancy agreement is available from this
website (free), so why did it take seven months?
He has not paid
a deposit. Will he move if you give him one month’s
notice? You know him. I think he is more likely to insist
on what the law says he is entitled to, which is two month’s
notice, to end when the tenancy ends.
My advice would
be to talk to him and see if you can gauge the situation to
ascertain whether he will move without argument if you give
him one month’s notice. If he says he will, by all means
serve the one month, but you must also issue with the notice
the law requires, to end when the tenancy ends – this
protects you if he then starts arguing – you don’t
have to start the process at the end of the month’s
notice, if he then says he is not going because he does not
The other action
you could take would be to discuss in depth with your mortgage
company and see if they can exert any pressure on your ex.
Tenant is uncontactable
I have a tenant who receives housing
benefit which is paid to me direct.
can never get hold of him and his contract, which was due
to be signed last October 2006, remains unsigned. I have written
to him on numerous occasions and tried to reach him by telephone
almost every other day.
The flat is full of
rubbish, the electricity is off, and it looks as if he is
not living there. He has not opened – there are letters
from the courts and utility companies as well as the letters
sent by myself - but his things are there.
Can I change the locks
and leave his things outside as I feel he is a hazard to my
flat because he is using candles and has broken the cooker?
I am sorry but
you must not change the locks without going through the legal
procedure. If you strongly believe that he is not living there,
you must serve him a 28 day Notice to Quit at the property.
After the 28 days have expired, if you have had no contact
from him, on the 29th day or later, you can change the locks.
If he contacts you within 28 days, then serve him with a section.21
notice seeking possession, as your property is obviously deteriorating
and, as you say, it is at risk.
From the way you
have worded your question, I am assuming he had lived there
prior to October. 2006, but that his tenancy expired. As he
has not signed a new agreement, the tenancy converted automatically
to a statutory periodic tenancy and that means two month’s
notice can be given at any time during the course of the tenancy,
though must still follow tenancy dates.
I understand your
concerns about candles and the like, but if you do not believe
he is there, the risk is obviously not great. If you believe
he is there, then you would need to issue a notice seeking
possession and I would use ground 13 – condition of
the property has got worse because of the behaviour of the
tenant and ground 15 – the condition of the furniture
has got worse. There may be something in your tenancy agreement
about safety, in which case you could use ground 12, the tenant
has broken one or more of the terms of the agreement. All
these grounds, though, are discretionary, so a court would
have to decide it was reasonable for you to want possession.
If the property
is left insecure, the locks can be changed but a notice in
a clearly visible place should indicate that the locks have
been changed to secure the tenancy and not to deprive the
tenant of occupancy. The notice to quit would still have to
run to the end, or, if the tenant made contact, you would
have to give him the keys and as I say above, serve a section.21.
Did you take a
next of kin or useful contact when the tenancy commenced?
If so, a courteous call (once) to ask if they know what is
happening to the tenancy should not be construed wrongly.
I personally would say I was concerned about him and why you
have been unable to contact him. If they give any indication
of knowing where he is, then pleasantly assure them that if
he contacts you to regularise what is happening, it is better
for you to know he has gone and you can re-let rather than
having to go through the notice to quit procedure. If this
is the case, make sure you get something in writing and signed,
relinquishing the tenancy.
My other concern
would be housing benefit. If you are receiving payments direct,
if he has put in a claim for a new address, there may very
well be an overpayment, which will not come to light for a
For future reference,
always add a clause to your tenancy agreement that you must
be notified if the property will be left empty for more than
two weeks; that if abandonment is suspected, the tenancy can
be terminated at the expiry of a notice to quit; that goods
left in the property will be disposed of after a certain date.
always dreadful and hassle for the landlord, but the one time
in a thousand when the tenant has had to go to care for a
sick relative can land the landlord who does not follow this
procedure in quite a lot of trouble.
Last December my mother-in-law took on
a DHSS tenant with a five year old daughter. The tenant came
via a letting agency.
three months ago her former partner (not the child's father)
came out of prison after serving a sentence for assault, and
has been practically living there ever since. The tenant,
who is a manic depressive, and her partner have frightening
rows throughout the night into the early hours and on one
occasion she put her fist through the upstairs window. Unfortunately
my mother-in-law lives in the attached house (it is a semi)
and hears everything. She has approached the tenant on a number
or occasions as this behaviour is unacceptable and has been
threatened by the tenant in the doorway of her own home -
which resulted in the tenant being escorted away by the police
(thankfully the daughter spends plenty of time with relatives
and doesn't see all that goes on). They have not received
housing benefit for last month as the tenant has not put in
the relevant forms.
My question to you
is what route do we need to take to evict her?
Ludicrous as it
appears, there seems to be only one ground that could be used
to evict, which is ground 14 - the tenant, or someone living
in or visiting the property has caused or is likely to cause
a nuisance or annoyance to someone living in or visiting the
locality. You could possibly add ground 12 – the tenant
has broken one or more of the terms of the tenancy agreement,
except the obligation to pay rent, presuming that there is
a clause in the tenancy agreement that the property is let
to only the named tenant.
Both of these
are discretionary grounds so she would need some very good
paperwork to support a court case. As the landlady would be
the main person that is affected by the behaviour in ground
14, a court may not feel that the case is strong enough. Ask
her to speak to the person on the other side and see whether
anyone else in the area has been affected. If so, statements
from them would help. Get incident numbers from the Police
and report it whenever there is a disturbance.
If you feel you have sufficient supporting evidence to evict,
then you can go for a court date as soon as you have issued
I would advise
that you seek whatever help is available to you locally –
speak to your local authority – do they have any officers
in place that deal with anti-social behaviour. Environmental
Services may also be able to assist with noise nuisance and
provide supporting documentation for an eviction.
The other alternative
will depend on when the tenancy comes to an end – if
it was a 6 month tenancy, it may now be a statutory periodic
and you can serve two month’s notice. If it was a 12
month tenancy, then the tenant will have to be allowed to
stay to the end, unless you can get possession on the grounds
mentioned above, though you can issue a section 21 now to
end at the end of the tenancy
If the tenancy
agreement stated that rent was payable monthly in advance,
it may be possible to issue a section 8, ground 8 notice that
the tenant owed at least two months’ rent.
If you issue
a notice seeking possession, please ensure that the full wording
as stated in the Housing Act 1988 (amended 1996) is used.
Sister staying put
My mother has died and
in her will states that a house she bought 18 years ago in her
sole name has to be sold and the proceeds shared equally between
the four siblings. My sister has lived in the house for the
18 years, constantly making excuses to my mother as to why she
could not move out. She has a live-in boyfriend who owns a house
himself that he is renting out. She has also been declared bankrupt
and is currently claiming benefits. Six months after the death
of my mother she is still refusing to move. Can we other three
siblings evict her? Probate has just been granted on the will.
My other sister really needs the money as she is divorced and
living in rented accomodation.
must see a solicitor. She has rights in the property, simply
because she is now part-owner with you and your siblings.
Under those circumstances, eviction is not the answer. However,
what is required, the sale of the property, is in jeopardy
because of the presence of sister and partner, who clearly
do not want to move. The favoured option, I think, is to have
the house valued and for sister and partner to buy the other
three quarters, therefore treating the three siblings not
living in it, fairly. But this does not sound possible if
she is on benefits. That’s why you must have legal advice.
I know from personal experience how difficult situations can
be which need regularising whilst someone is alive, but become
dreadful and even more difficult to sort out following a bereavement.
Best of luck.
My Father, who died recently, owned a property with his sister
which they had inherited from their father.
There is a sitting
tenant who has lived in the property for the last 50 to 60
years. My father and his sister had managed to get the rent
increased from a meagre sum to £69 per week.
The property is a
two bedroom house in Bookham Surrey and is managed through
a local letting agent. There is no contract or written agreement
in place. My father’s share has now passed to myself,
my brother and sister.
We have all agreed
we would like this tenant out of the house.
I am currently living
in a pub and the family has agreed that I can move into the
property when the tenant leaves. She must be in her 80s and
also has a 57 year old son who lives with her. How do we serve
notice for her to quit the property and ensure that on her
death her son does not have the right to continue living there?
I think you will struggle here as
she has very good security. You will only get possession if
you have a case for evicting her. Almost certainly, her son
will be entitled to succeed to the tenancy. This is a case
where you must see a solicitor who specialises in housing
How should I word the landlord’s residential lettings
termination letter to my tenants?
can be various reasons and grounds for giving notice, and
the form of words you need to use varies according to the
grounds you are citing. Visit the Residential Landlord Landlord
Forms sections (http://www.residentiallandlord.co.uk/../landlordforms.htm)
where you can find forms and notices to suit most circumstances.
a notice to quit
I would like to know how
to go about serving a notice for my tenant to leave my property
due to non payment of rent. I believe that she has moved her
partner in without informing the benefit department. I've
never served notice before and would like some advice. Can
You can terminate
by two ways. The first is via a section 8 Notice, for non-payment
of rent. This is a two week notice that you serve when the
tenant is either eight weeks or two months in arrears (depending
on the tenancy agreement). You serve this notice and if no
monies are forthcoming to reduce this amount under the eight8
week/two month threshold, then you can enforce the notice
at the court. This is a formal, legal notice obtainable from
this website (see Landlord Forms).
The other route
is via a section 21 notice. This is a two month notice which
grants you automatic possession of the property, however the
earliest date this can expire is the last day of a fixed term
tenancy. So if you issued a tenancy agreement three months
ago, the earliest date you can end the tenancy is the last
day of the six month term. You can issue the notice at any
time within the tenancy, provided it gives a minimum of two
month’s notice and ends not before the last day of the
tenancy. In fact, some landlords issue a section 21 notice
giving six months notice on the day the tenancy begins! Again,
see our Landlord Forms section.
I have served section
8 notice three of my tenants. I used recorded delivery, but
have checked with the Post Office and found that as the tenants
were not in at the time of delivery a message was left advising
them, to collect the mail from the Post Office. They have
not done so,. Does the 14 day notice still stand even though
the tenants have not received the Section 8 notice?
This is always
the problem with recorded delivery. I am afraid if your tenants
have not received the notices, you should not really go to
Court. Re-serve at the property and take a witness to the
fact you have posted it yourself. Then they can make no excuse
that it has not been served.
I have a tenant,
whom lives in a self contained flat on an Assured Shorthold
Tenancy. The flat is in a cluster, which is located within
The tenant has presented serious violence and harassment to
both staff and other tenants/visitors to the building. I would
like to know if there is any recourse to use a shorter notice
period before applying to court, rather than the section 21
two month notice or section 8 28 days.
is, but whether it can be used will depend on the seriousness
of the situation and what actions you have taken already.
Has he been advised in writing that his behaviour is unacceptable?
Have you asked him to sign an Acceptable Behaviour Contract?
Are the people he has harassed, threatened or used violence
against, prepared to give statements which can be used in
evidence against him? You need as much evidence as you can
provide about his behaviour and why you are seeking possession
as the ground you will be using, ground 14, is a discretionary
ground and the court will have to believe it is reasonable
that you gain possession. Once the notice is issued, you can
go for a court date immediately. It may be worth speaking
to your local authority, to see if they can provide any assistance
with this as Anti Social Behaviour is viewed very seriously
and they may be able to help you with the process.
I have just bought
a property which has a tenant living in it. I want to move
into the flat myself but told the vendor that the tenant could
stay on for a couple of months while I obtained planning permission.
We have been trying to arrange a meeting with the tenant but
couldn't get hold of him. I finally saw him yesterday and
he said that the vendor had given him a tenancy agreement
and he still has 10 months left on it.
We are unable to get hold of the vendor so I will have to
sort out the mess myself. Can you please advise me as to where
I stand legally?
The tenant has already been in the flat for about a month
(and he hasn't paid me anything). My plan was for him to move
in early February. This seems unlikely. How soon would I be
able to get him out? He is also talking about being recompensed
for the inconvenience but I will meet him next week for further
Tricky one! I
think I would be inclined to hand this over to the solicitor
who did the conveyancing – I cannot believe that under
the circumstances, the vendor would give a one year tenancy!
Have you seen the tenancy agreement? Are you sure he is being
truthful? If he has an agreement, I think you would be seeking
compensation from the vendor as you are unable to use the
property for the purpose it was purchased – your own
If the tenant really
does have a 12 month tenancy agreement (which would have had
to be given him while the property was being sold) you may
have difficulty getting him out, certainly for the first six
months – unless of course he does not pay the rent.
Once he is eight weeks or more in arrears you could serve
notice using ground 8.
My friend and his
(now-ex) girlfriend moved into a flat in December. As the
landlord wanted to get someone in quickly he gave them one
month free, meaning that their tenancy agreement did not start
until 15 January 2007. Although it was signed on 14 January
2007, he sent them an email saying that he wanted to sell
the flat, giving them first option to buy. Obviously they
do not want to buy together any more, and could not have done
so even if they wanted. Where do they stand on notice now?
The landlord didn’t say anything in his email about
them moving out, nor has he given them notice. However, if
he sold the flat to someone who didn't want tenants, would
he be able to turf my friend out, saying that he gave notice
before the tenancy officially started, or does he still have
to abide by the two months' which is in the agreement?
I've told my friend to start looking for another place just
in case, but he loves the flat, and when the ex moves out
in a month (which she has now agreed to do), his friend is
more than happy to move in. I don't want to see my friend
(and indeed his friend) being dumped on the pavement in a
If the tenancy
agreement established a joint tenancy, then technically speaking
when one of the joint tenants relinquishes the agreement it
is broken for everyone. This does not mean your friend has
to move, yet. If a friend moves in, this can only be by agreement
of the landlord. The current landlord may be happy to allow
the friend to move in, though this would have to be on a new
tenancy agreement for the balance of the tenancy.
A verbal or text notice
that the landlord wishes to sell the flat does not count as
legal notice and the landlord would have to go through the
legal procedure to bring the tenancy to an end.
Your friend needs to speak frankly to the landlord, reminding
him that he has no duty to allow viewings until the last month
of the tenancy. Has there been any interest from anyone who
looks like he or she want tenants? I don’t think that
your friend loving the flat will help him stay there –
it sounds as if ultimately he will have look for something
else and be grateful for the rent free month.
I own and live in
a three bed property and rent out two of the rooms. I recently
had a disagreement with one of the lodgers and served him
four week’s notice (neither lodger has any sort of agreement
and pays one month in advance).
Since serving the notice this lodger he has made our lives
a misery. He gets up at 4.30am and makes sure that we are
all disturbed. I really want him out before the four weeks
is up. Am I within my rights to insist on this?
A lodger has few
legal rights, other than that of reasonable notice. Four weeks
seems more than reasonable. For future reference, always draw
up a lodging agreement and always say one week’s notice,
though you can vary this later by negotiation if circumstances
make this appropriate.
Also make rent payable
in advance, and should it become necessary to serve notice,
repay any balance when the lodger moves out.
In your current circumstances, the lodger’s behaviour
is not acceptable and I think you should re-issue the notice
giving him one week, stating this is because of unreasonable
behaviour. The problem is, however, that he may not accept
it. You will then have the hassle of getting a court order,
which could well take you beyond the date he is actually leaving.
We rent a property
and have recently received a letter addressed to ‘the
Occupiers’, so opened it. This turned out to be a letter
from our landlord’s mortgage company informing us that
court action was to be taken for repossession of the house
we are living in. We have a year tenancy agreement and have
been in the property for only seven weeks. We have not been
advised to move out and we have not heard from our landlord
after calling him all of last week. We do not know what our
rights are and we don't want to be left homeless as my husband
and I have two young children.
You should check
your tenancy agreement. Our own free download contains the
optional clause: ‘The Premises are subject to a mortgage
granted before the beginning of this agreement and the mortgagee
is or may be entitled to exercise a power of sale and may
require possession of the Premises for the purpose of disposing
of the Premises in the exercise of that power. The Landlord
hereby gives notice to the Tenant that possession of the Premises
may be recovered on Ground 2 in Part I of Schedule 2 to the
Housing Act 1988’.
cited above is a statutory and mandatory ground for possession
requiring prior notice. So if there is such a clause you can
be given two months notice to quit.
However, possession procedures instigated by mortgage lenders
do not always end in repossession – either because the
borrower makes good the arrears or the court does not order
immediate repossession. Even if successful the procedure will
take a little time.
As you cannot reach your landlord, I suggest you contact the
mortgage company immediately, to advise it that you are in
occupation and to ask whether it is aware of this and if so
whether it intends to allow you to see out your tenancy. The
very least you need to know is, should it require you to leave,
how much notice it intends to give you (you are entitled to
at least two months from the date you receive the notice).
I am sorry to say you will probably have difficulty in getting
your deposit back from the owner – Small Claims Court
is likely to be the only option.
I am a landlady who has started an eviction through the Courts
after serving the correct Section 21 notice (accelerated procedure),
as the tenant has not left. The tenant's husband, who does
not live at the property, pays the rent for her. Is it OK
to continue to accept rent payments from him even though the
two month notice period has expired and we are trying to get
You are entitled
to rent until the date the court orders possession, so there
should not be a problem.
My partner and I
have been renting for the past 18 months on an Assured Shorthold
Tenancy. The contract expired at the end on November when
we went onto a periodic tenancy.
When I came home from work last week I found a letter from
the letting agents advising us that the landlords intend to
sell the property and that they wish us to vacate the property
in two month’s time. As far as I can see they have done
this correctly by issuing a Section 21 notice.
The following day I called the letting agency to find out
when was the earliest we could move out and they advised me
that it would be in one month’s time. Is this right?
I have found a property that is £25 a month cheaper
and just round the corner from where we are. We stand in good
stead of getting it as all the other people that have applied
either have kids or pets or are reliant on housing benefit.
The only thing going against us is that we can not move out
for a month and the landlord is looking for immediate occupation.
When can I legally move out and will I have to pay any charges?
I have been told by friends that as the landlord has given
me notice I can move out whenever and they have no right to
apply charges or withhold any deposit.
I have only ever
had contact with one landlord, who felt that having given
notice, he could still hold the tenant to a month’s
notice on the tenants side. I advised the landlord that this
was unreasonable and he accepted the advise.
I think the landlord
may feel he can withhold your deposit, in which case you would
have to go to the small claims court to recover. I would try
and negotiate with the landlord – it sounds as though
he wants it all his own way and the rent for as long as possible,
but maybe I am being unfair. I do not think a court would
think it unreasonable that having found a suitable property,
considering you would be homeless at the end of the landlord’s
notice period, that you would wish to move out sooner.
Speak to the landlord pleasantly, advise that moving out sooner
means viewings can take place at any time if the property
is vacant and you may find he is more amenable than you believe.
If not, the small claims court is the answer. Whatever result
you have from discussions, confirm in writing as this will
be helpful in court.
I rent my house with
my partner from my father and have no tenancy agreement. We
allowed two of our friends to move in as we were struggling
with the rent. As they were friends no tenancy agreement was
drawn up and we simply trusted that everything would be fine.
They have now told us (with 9 days notice) that they are moving
out as they have paid their rent until that date. They have
since become very difficult to live with are not willing to
cooperate, purposefully making things difficult. We would
like them gone before the 9 days is up as they are completely
unbearable to live with. Is there anything we can do as technically
they have not paid any rent to the landlord (my father) only
given us in cash.
speaking, they are lodgers or sub-lettees. They therefore
would not have a tenancy agreement, only a licence or lodging
agreement. As the law says you need only give reasonable notice,
you could ask them to leave before the nine days, but if they
choose not to go, it will probably take longer than they intend
staying to get a court order. Bite the bullet and be patient.
But if you get more lodgers, draw up your own agreement and
specify one week’s notice on both sides. Try not to
mix friendship with letting in the future – it can lead
I recently purchased some garages, one of which was occupied
by a tenant who pays rent quarterly in advance. There was
no written agreement between the tenant and the previous landlord.
I wish the garage to be vacated and have written to the occupier
giving him three month’s notice. He is requesting six
months notice. I would just like clarification of my legal
position. Ultimately I wish him to vacate sooner rather than
This is an interesting
point, not covered by housing law. These kind of agreements
are generally just on goodwill bases and three months does
seem reasonable notice for a garage being used to keep a vehicle.
If the tenant is running a business from the garage, or using
it for storage for a business, it is understandable that he
may require longer than the three months he has paid rent
for. You need to talk to the occupier and find out where he
is coming from, here. I cannot see that he would have grounds
for further action if you insist he vacates after three months,
though if you possibly can be amenable, that would be preferable.
I live in an unfurnished
rented house. The boiler has broken down and I have no hot
water or heat. My landlord says it is my responsibility to
pay for the repair.
He says if it was furnished accommodation it would be his
responsibility. I feel he should pay. We have lived here for
five months. It is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.
Who should pay?
without a doubt. It is part of the Landlord and Tenant Act
1985 that all installations for the heating of space and water
are the landlord’s responsibility to keep in order.
That applies whether furnished or unfurnished. If he does
not do what is required, let him argue about it to Environmental
troublesome 18 year old son
I plan to evict my
partner's 18 year old son, who has become increasingly troublesome
since moving in with me (with his mother) four and a half
months ago. Last night I was threatened with assault after
telling him to mind his manners (swearing directed at me),
as he did not like being disturbed in his television viewing
by an argument between his mother and myself.
His response to being told to pack his bags and get out was
(surprise) 'f--k off'. I believe he has no legal rights to
be in my property (he pays £25 a week towards housekeeping
and considers himself hard done by). Do I need a court order
if he refuses to go (which he has)? Should I seek an injunction
to keep him away from the property?
I hesitate to
answer this one – I think this could cause massive problems
to your relationship. I understand the lad is being a pain,
most families go through something like this. The difficulty
is, yours is a brand new family. It may have been a huge shock
to him to move into your house and have a new man calling
the shots. You could issue a notice to quit and take it to
court, if you really want to, but 18 is very young to be out
on his own. An injunction seems a terribly hard step to take.
What is his mother saying? I think I’d be inclined to
threaten notice but not act on it.
My landlord has become
most unpleasant since we informed him that we would not permit
viewing of the house that we presently rent from him.
We have a shorthold tenancy agreement which is due to expire
in a month. As with previous years we assumed (wrongly) that
our agreement would be renewed. However our landlord informed
us in August of his intention to sell the property and did
not wish to renew our agreement. We have no idea where we
will be living next, nonetheless he is quite within his rights
to do as he wishes.
In fact neither I nor my wife signed this year’s tenancy
agreement although previous agreements were signed. Also,
we did not sign the Section 21(1)(b) 'Notice Requiring Possession'.
The letting agents sent us a Section 21 Notice but this was
considerably different to the aforementioned previous agreements,
in that, there was not a space for signature. Our unsigned
copy of the tenancy agreement featuring the Section 21 notice
does have a space for signature.
We usually make rental payments via BACS transfer or cash
directly into his account. Unfortunately due to further unforeseen
circumstances we have not been able to pay the last two month’s
rent (due on the 13 of each month). This amounts in total
We informed our landlord of our intention to make payment
as soon as possible and we gave assurances that we would not
leave the property owing rent. He presently holds £1,600
as an initial holding deposit for when we first moved in.
During our tenancy we have made various refurbishments to
the house as agreed by the landlord. It was our intention
to purchase the house in the next two years if all went well.
This week we received a statutory demand for non-payment of
rent from his solicitors.
As the relationship between ourselves and the landlord seems
to have broken down completely we wanted to know whether or
not what he has done is technically legal. Considering he
holds £1,600 as a deposit, can he make a demand for
£3,200 rent via this statutory demand process whilst
we are still occupying the property? Is this not an abuse
of this procedure?
We were due to pay the outstanding arrears in the next few
weeks irrespective of what he'd threatened.
This year’s tenancy agreement was unsigned by both me
and my wife. Previous agreements were signed. Also, we did
not sign the Section 21(1)(b) 'Notice Requiring Possession'.
Our previous agreements terminated the tenancy on the 12th
of January. The unsigned agreement concludes on the same date.
The letting agents sent us a Section 21 Notice but this was
considerably different to the aforementioned previous agreements,
in that, there was not a space for signature. Our unsigned
copy of the tenancy agreement featuring the Section 21 notice
does have a space for signature.
As soon as you
were eight weeks/two months in rent arrears, he was entitled
to issue you a two week notice. The deposit he was holding
does not really enter into it – that is for use or return
after the expiry of the tenancy, when the property has been
inspected and signed off as in good condition, no deduction
being needed from the deposit for repairs. If the arrears
are paid up at the expiry of the notice, he cannot get a court
date. Even at the court date, if they are paid up, it cannot
proceed to a possession order using a rent arrears ground.
A section 21 does not really require a reason to be given.
The fact that the tenancy
agreement was unsigned is unfortunate, but if it went to court,
it could be said that the fact the rent has been paid has
established that there has been an agreement between you.
Most landlords would not think it unreasonable that people
should view in the last month of a tenancy.
I have let a flat to a girl from Lithuania. She has been no
problem and has paid her rent on time – until now. She
has disappeared, her clothes and all her stuff - luggage,
stereo, DVD player and the like - is still in the flat. Her
mobile phone is transferring calls to her mailbox.
I have left many messages but received no replies. I have
sent a registered letter asking her to pay the rent but had
I check her flat two or three times a week and it seems that
no one goes in at all – everything is always in its
I would like to know what I can do to gain possession.
Did you take any
next of kin details when she moved in? Any references? Do
you know where she was working? If the answer to any of these
is ‘yes’, then a very polite letter asking whether
they are aware of the whereabouts of your tenant may get a
If the answer is ‘no’, then you will have to serve
a 28 day notice to quit, which basically is saying you believe
the property has been abandoned. It should be served at the
property, even though you do not think she is there, though
send a copy to any other likely address, such as that of her
next of kin or workplace. If she responds within 28 days,
fine. If not, then on the 29th day, you can change the locks.
You would have to bag and store her goods for a reasonable
You should not enter the property or change locks until after
this period, unless you have to change the locks for purposes
of security. If you find you need to do this, put a notice
in the window stating it was not your intention to deprive
the tenant of occupation, only to safeguard your, and their,
For future reference, make sure your tenancy agreements include
clauses about notifying you of absences of longer than two
weeks – and payment arrangements, if going to be away
for longer; also stating that the tenancy can be terminated
if abandonment is suspected on service of a 28 day notice
to quit; also a clause stating how long you will store goods
left in the property, when abandonment occurs.
I allowed an individual and his girlfriend to be accommodated
in my home rent free, whilst I renovated another property
of mine for them to eventually live in. They said they were
pleased with the arrangement because it allowed them to visit
the other property with me in order to clear and do up the
garden - this was in March 2006.
In May 2006 they asked to be able to camp out in the property
being renovated in order that they would be on hand to get
on with the garden.
It has taken me longer than anticipated to complete the renovation
and meanwhile they needed to establish an address for state
benefits. Housing benefit was also claimed but never paid
since which time I have cancelled my approval of the claim,
directly with housing benefit department, as they have refused
to sign a contract.
They have also changed the locks and refused to let me have
a key and have denied me entry to complete refurbishment.
What recourse do I have in law?
have never paid any rent, they are illegal occupiers. You
should serve them a notice to quit. If they refuse to go,
you will need to get a court order. I would suggest you see
a solicitor – I think this could get very unpleasant.
We have just been
granted a possession order requiring our tenants to leave
on or before a certain date. They have been on holiday for
a week and return shortly. They have been terrible tenants
and owe us six months’ rent. The house is a complete
mess, and is really dirty and smelly. They have wrecked a
new dishwasher we provided, they have damaged electrics, wallpaper,
and more. We will have to get cleaners, gardeners other people
in to sort it all out.
Although the tenants have told us they have somewhere to go
when they get back, we have changed the locks to prevent them
breaking in when we believe they would wreck the place even
more and stay until we could get bailiffs - which in our area
takes at least eight weeks.
We are at the point of having the house repossessed by the
bank as, because the rent hasn’t been paid, we haven't
been able to keep up the mortgage.
The tenants have removed their personal items but there is
a lot of furniture, clothes and the like still in the house.
We are very loath to hand these over as they owe us a fortune.
They keep sending us threatening text messages to say we will
know about it if we touch their stuff and they are going to
get there stuff one way or another when they get back.
We have asked the police to keep an eye on the place as we
feel they will break in.
Do you have any suggestions about what we can do with their
clothes, furniture and other possession? Can we get rid of
it after so long or do we have to give it back to them?
These have obviously
been very unpleasant tenants and you have my sympathy. However,
I do not quite understand why you have changed the locks,
if the date that possession has been granted hasn’t
arrived yet. You should not deprive them of access; even if
the date the court order possession arrives and they are still
in residence, you still cannot deprive them of access –
you have to get a Bailiff’s warrant and only the Bailiff
can remove them.
Only then can you change
the locks. Changing locks before that point could be seen
as illegal eviction and/or harassment. They would be unlikely
to get much in court, as the order has been made, but it could
be more cost for you and damaging to your reputation.
My next thought is: why keep their goods? If they were goods
of any value, you could get advice from the bailiff about
keeping the goods to compensate for what they owe. But you
talk about getting rid of it – do you mean trash it?
If so, I think this could be viewed quite seriously as spite
rather than restitution. I think if possible, and it may not
be, try and arrange a meeting to discuss the situation. You
could even assist them in moving it – which would get
you their address, which you will need for a claim through
the small claims court.
My lease is a short assured tenancy. The initial period was
for six months and month to month thereafter. I have been
in the flat, which is in Scotland, for nine months but have
now been served with notice to quit.
The flat had only just been completed when I moved in and
it turns out that the address on both the tenancy agreement
and the notice to quit is incorrect – they have the
right flat number but the wrong street name.
Am I within my rights to say that the notice to quit is invalid
and ask the letting agents to re-issue? This would give me
a little more time to move.
In fact the is supposed to be two months but the letting agent
did not allow for the five days it took for the notice to
Yes, I would suggest
it is invalid. I also thought the Notice should come from
the landlords, not the agents. Good practice would be to issue
2 full months, following tenancy dates, which for preference
would be to issue say on the 20th, but to take effect from
28th May to 27th July, actions to commence after that date.
However, the landlord may want to take it to court anyway,
and then it is down to a Judge to decide.
We have a tenant we housed in temporary accommodation.
He has an assured shorthold tenancy but has never occupied
the property and does not have any of his possessions in the
property. We require the property back for other homeless
families. How do we approach this situation?
There are a couple
of ways this can be approached. Firstly, has any rent been
paid on the property? If no rent has been paid for two months
or more, then an s8 Notice Seeking Possession can be served
which has a twp week notice requirement, enabling you to gain
possession that way. A second approach could be to serve a
Notice To Quit (in effect an abandonment notice) where you
believe nobody is in occupation, if no response is received
within 28 days then you should be able to take possession
the following day. For future reference, your tenancy agreement
should always state that where abandonment is suspected, possession
can be regained by taking these steps. There is no legal requirement
to have that in place, but it does make it clear to the tenant
that this will happen.
Notice to quit
I have been given two month’s notice to quit my house
and must leave by the end of September. If I wish to leave
before that time, will I have to give one month’s notice?
I would speak
to the landlord. If the landlord has issued notice then I
would be surprised if he or she held your one month notice
against you. Speak informally to your landlord and if it is
agreed I would confirm the discussion in writing.
Only one month
I am a tenant and signed
a basic agreement to rent a room in a property on 19 May 2006.
On the 10 July I got a call from my landlady explaining that
my housemate would be moving out and she had decided to rent
the property through an agency. Her reasoning is that she
would be financially better off and also because it is difficult
for her to manage the property as she’s living in London.
She gave me the option of finding people to fill the rooms
to cover £775 rent plus bills, plus agency fees. This
isn’t feasible for me so I will have to leave and do
not want to be staying there. I haven’t had anything
in writing but the landlady said to take as 'long as I want'
to find somewhere else (I know this isn’t strictly true
as when my housemate moves out she will be struggling to pay
My agreement just states that either party need to give a
month’s notice and doesn’t say a minimum length
of time I should live there. I have been a cooperative and
tidy tenant and have gone out of my way to wait in for workmen
and the like.
Needless to say that I am upset after only living there just
over a month, I haven’t fully unpacked, I turned down
other nice accommodation at the time and I also had the expenses
and hassle of hiring a van, having friends help me move, having
my post redirected through the post office, as well as all
the time it takes to look around properties to find the right
Do I have any rights as the agreement actually said she only
had to give me one month’s notice and that’s what
she’s done? I think it just a bit much asking me to
move out after such a short time with no sort of compensation.
Despite what the
agreement says, she has to give you two month’s notice
in writing, going from the tenancy dates. I think you should
raise the matter of some form of compensation with her, perhaps
to cover removal costs. Also explain the legal notice you
are entitled to, perhaps stating you will move as soon as
you can, but that you require the legal notice. I think this
is very disappointing for you and cannot understand why she
should be asking you and another tenant to cover agency fees.
The only good thing you can say is that she is being fairly
amicable, but that does not help a disappointed tenant much.
by text message
I currently have a tenant residing in my property who has
served me with one month’s notice according to our contract.
This came via a text message. However, in the interim the
tenant has encountered some personal problems. She has been
signed off work until September and is trying to claim housing
benefit. In order to do that, she needs a notice of eviction
I am refusing to evict her as she has already given me her
notice to leave. Are text messages a valid form of notice
in the eyes of law? If so, what are my rights? Can I sue her
If I were a landlord,
my reaction on receipt of a text would be that she must confirm
this in writing – she cannot sign a text, someone could
have picked up her ‘phone and sent it maliciously for
all you know. I do not understand why she needs an eviction
notice from you to claim housing benefit. Benefit is only
payable on the property where she is living (your property)
and therefore a copy of the tenancy agreement should be sufficient
for her housing benefit claim to be activated. However, if
you feel that for security you need to serve her notice, then
serve her a section 21, accelerated possession.
with rent, but behind enough
I am the joint owner
of a property with a friend of mine. We had a tenant in the
property on a six month tenancy and at the end of this period
we issued a new tenancy agreement and allowed the tenant to
stay in the property - even though she had occasionally been
late with her rent.
Three months into this new tenancy and she has stopped paying
rent altogether and refuses to answer our telephone calls
or reply to letters.
She now owes us 12 pence less than two full month’s
rent. My agent believes that because of this 12p shortfall,
and claim for possession based on arrears will be thrown out
Do you think I need to wait until she misses another month’s
rent (£1000 which I can ill afford to cover) before
I issue a grounds 8, 10 and 11 or should I simply do this
know? Is there any way to expedite this process and what do
you think is the quickest way I can evict the tenant from
I should add that she is the only named tenant though the
house is being lived in by at least three other people suggesting
that she is perhaps sub-letting the property – which
is contrary to her tenancy agreement. There are three months
of her tenancy left to run.
If this situation continues much longer I stand to lose the
house and the large deposit that was put down. This is a very
stressful situation and I simply don't know the best course
of action to take.
I am sorry, but
I can only agree with the agent – 12 pence less than
two month’s rent could mean the claim was thrown out
of court, though it is possible that a judge may favour you.
It is all a matter of interpretation and some stick with the
exact two month’s worth. I think the ground 8 probably
is the quickest way of getting the tenant out. You could issue
a notice to quit, on the basis that you believe she may have
vacated the property as she has paid no rent and is not answering
the telephone, but if she responds and says she is living
there, you are back to the current situation.
Are you receiving any complaints about the action of the other
residents? If there was noise nuisance, police reports etc.,
you could try on ground 14, but it is a discretionary ground
so you would have to prove it was reasonable for you to want
possession on that ground. How on earth did you manage to
get 12p to take you under two months? What is the agent doing
to assist you? I would expect a number of strong letters to
have been sent. For future reference, issue tenancies stating
rent is payable one month in advance, then when the fifth
week ends without a payment, you can issue the notice. The
other option is to get a guarantor.
I hope you do not lose your property – discuss it with
the mortgagors, on the lines that you are evicting this tenant.
Hopefully, they will be patient.
I have a tenant with an expired agreement which was written
on 28 of the month terminating on 27 of the month. Irrespective,
the tenant pays rent in advance on first of every month.
If I give section 20 notice, on what day of the month should
The tenancy dates are what
matter, as her payments, though in advance for almost all
of the month, are actually relating to the month that started
on 28th of the month before. Therefore, your notice should
start on 28th, to terminate on 27th.
My landlord recently phoned me and informed his their intention
to sell the property that I am renting. My lease continues
until next year, and the owner is already preparing to show
the home. At first the landlord asked us to view another home
that would soon be available but then changed his mind and
said he would be selling that too.
I have now been given written notice asking if we ‘intend
to invoke amicable termination of lease or wish to wait &
see if the home is purchased by an investor that is willing
to take over the lease agreement’.
I am not sure what ‘invoke amicable termination of lease’
was intended to mean.
What are our rights as tenants at this point? Are we supposed
to be given at least a two month’s notice of intention
to sell? What are the obligations of the landlord?
is asking you whether you are happy to accept the notice and
therefore leave, or see if the property is purchased by someone
willing to let you stay on. You are entitled to stay in the
property until your lease ends and only leave then if you
are given two month’s notice in writing to end when
your tenancy does.
If I were you, I would make it pleasantly clear to the landlord
that you are happy to co-operate with him, in that you will
allow viewings in the final month of the tenancy, after you
have received valid notice. Which means your quiet enjoyment
of the property will not be disturbed until next year.
If any pressure is brought to bear on you, this could be construed
as illegal eviction or harassment. I suggest negotiating with
the landlord, enquiring about what compensation would be involved.
With regard to how much notice you require of his intention
to sell – obviously the longer the better, but if his
intention is to sell it as an investment property, with an
income coming in from the tenants (you) it could be argued
that this could happen without you being aware at all –
but you certainly should not be expected to allow viewings
at this stage.
to pay rent
I belong to a housing cooperative that does not own any of
its properties. My question, is does a tenant have to pay
rent after the notice to quit expires. If we have a tenant
who does not leave at the end of notice we apply for eviction.
But we still have to pay rent on the property until the keys
are handed to the owners. As legally the tenancy has ceased,
is the tenant liable for rent between the expiry of the notice
to quit and the time we gain possession of the property?
A notice to quit
should only be used when it is believed a tenant has abandoned
a property. If this is the case and it has been correctly
served, the locks should be changed.
However, as you mention
applying for eviction, I believe you have served a Notice
Seeking Possession, at the expiry of which you would apply
to court for a possession order. If this is the case, there
is a rental liability until the date the court orders possession.
So the answer is that the tenant is liable for the rent until
the date the court orders possession – though that may
not be when possession is gained, given that the tenant could
choose to stay until a Bailiff removes him – though
I would hope this does not happen as this will be further
debt that the tenant could find against him.
My Grandmother has
died leaving her estate to her four children, one of which
is my mother.
My Uncle still lives in my Grandmother’s house and has
done so for about 10 years. Probate is completed but the house
cannot be sold as Uncle will not move out. He also wants the
other family members to pay a share of his bills while he
lives there. Personally I think he should be paying the estate
The situation is causing bad feelings between the family and
I fear he will drag it out forever as he has already threatened.
Is there anything that can be done?
I think this is
a case for a family meeting to discuss when the house is to
be put up for sale. His asking for help with bills is curious
– which bills? Utilities are, as in all private rented
houses, the responsibility of the tenant, because they are
utilities he has used, so cannot be anybody else’s responsibility.
The only bill I can think of which should, fairly, be shared
between the joint owners are buildings insurance. He has the
option of buying the remaining three siblings out so he owns
the property outright. If he starts to pays the estate rent,
he creates a tenancy and would therefore have some rights,
though if you want to suggest this in the short term, you
could create an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, but this could
be problematic, given that he is a part owner and, of course,
may lead him to believe that it could be a long term situation,
which is not likely to be a satisfactory solution for the
three not in residence. If you can’t reach an agreement
with him, you need to discuss with a solicitor.
Evidence for Ground 14
I intend to apply for a possession order on Ground 14 - causing
nuisance to neighbours. As this is a discretionary rather
than mandatory ground for possession I am worried that a possession
order may not be granted.
To give you the background my tenant moved into a flat I own
on 5 June 2006. Two days later I was called at work by several
of the neighbouring residents. There had been arguments between
my tenant and his girlfriend (who is not on the tenancy agreement)
which were so violent that one of the residents had threatened
to call the police had they not have been able to get hold
During the course of the day the neighbours heard shouting,
screaming, abusive language and banging of doors on two separate
occasions, each lasting over an hour. The girlfriend was continually
shouting ‘get off me, get off me’ and the neighbours
were concerned that my tenant may have been hurting her. In
addition, two of the neighbours overheard a conversation in
which my tenant said be was going to buy some drugs. There
have also been reports of lots of young people coming in and
out of the property and I am worried that there may be illegal
I called my tenant immediately and arranged to come home from
work to talk to him. On entering my property I noticed a large
dent in the plaster work of the living room wall and also
a large cigarette burn in the middle of a brand new carpet
(this is a no smoking flat). My tenant said it had all been
his girlfriend’s fault, she had caused the damage and
they had now separated. He asked for another chance.
A similar incident happened on the following day and the other
residents asked me to try and evict the tenant as they were
afraid of what had happened and were worried that these incidents
would continue. I served a Section 8 notice on Ground 13 and
14 on 11 June 2006 and intend to instruct my solicitor to
begin court proceedings this week. The residents of the block
of flats have put together a signed statement of the events
to use as evidence for Ground 14. As a responsible landlord
I feel a duty to the other residents to ensure they can live
peacefully and without fear in their own homes. Do you believe
the above is enough grounds for the courts to grant a possession
It is difficult
to say, I’m afraid. If I was the judge, I would grant
possession, provided that you had everything clearly documented,
including details of conversation with the tenant and the
like. However, I am not the judge and I am thinking about
a tearful tenant, yes, males can be tearful, telling the court
that he was the victim of abuse from his partner, that her
screams were part of him defending himself… you get
Were the police called the property at all during these very
worrying incidents? If so, they may be able to act as professional
witnesses. You mention instructing a solicitor – is
he a housing specialist? If so, he will have a very good idea
of whether he thinks you stand a good chance of success. The
statement from other residents should carry a lot of weight.
What I think may go against you is that these incidents took
place over a very short period of time, which the tenant could
argue was untypical, Some judges might feel that he needs
a second chance.
We have tenants who have been in our property on an assured
shorthold tenancy which we renewed a year ago.
The tenants are a family comprised of a disabled mother (deaf),
her carer partner and six children aged two to 16. The youngest
child has medical problems and, I am told, is on some sort
of special 'watch' list with the council/health carers. The
property is a five bedroom maisonette.
I served a Section 21 Notice a year ago which gave the statutory
two month notice period expiring on 31 May 2006. The Tenants
have made no effort to move or to find alternative accommodation
and have told us that they 'intend to stay'.
I have no problems with my tenants except that they do not
pay the agreed rent in full. The rent which is paid is made
up of a very low (but maximum level) housing benefit payment
and a small proportion of the shortfall which the tenant pays
weekly. Housing benefit is based on the historically low rents
for the area which in no way reflect current rents obtained
by us in our neighbouring properties, nor by other landlords
in the area.
At the beginning of May we wrote to the tenants reminding
them of the Section 21 Notice and the end of May deadline.
In this letter we stated that we would be prepared to renew
their tenancy on similar terms provided that a new rent could
be agreed, with a commitment to pay the rent in full.
We have written to the tenants again this week, one week after
expiry of the Notice, and reminded them that their AST has
ended, offered to provide new tenancy provided new rent agreed,
and pointed out the possible difficulties for them in finding
new accommodation if we need to apply to the Court to remove
Have we followed the correct procedure? Have we weakened our
case by offering a new tenancy if a new rent can be agreed?
Is there a route other than applying to the court to remove
them? How soon can we apply to the court, do we need a solicitor
for this, and what costs are involved?
You appear to
have followed the correct procedure, although I personally
do not like notices issued at the start of the tenancy as
I do not believe that tenants therefore have an incentive
to behave correctly as proved to be the case here. I do not
believe that offering a new tenancy at a new rent invalidates
your case. – the tenants were being given a choice,
to pay up or go. As they have not responded before the expiry
of the notice, I would have sent a brief, polite letter, stating
that as they have not intimated that they wish to renew the
tenancy, you will be asking the court for a possession order,
using the accelerated possession procedure.
The notice has now expired, so you should go to court now.
I would always recommend you see a solicitor in possession
cases, just to ensure the notices have been correctly served.
But as you will be using the accelerated possession procedure,
you should be able to do it yourself as it is fairly straightforward.
Costs are usually in the region of £150 to £200,
but your local court will be able to give full information.
Is it worth having one final discussion, to see if you can
assist the tenants, say by giving them time to go, as this
may assist you also and save you money. But unless they give
a very clear indication that they are getting ready to leave,
go to court – and almost certainly, moving out is going
to be difficult because they are not going to want to go into
smaller accommodation and few, generally speaking, would be
the size of your property.
out after three months
My sister in law rented a house and has a proper contract.
The contract length is six months and the landlord has allowed
her to decorate the house nicely.
She's only been there for three months, but now she has been
issued with week’s notice to leave because the landlord
wants it back for her aunt to like in.
Isn’t there a law that prevents the landlord from doing
this? It wouldn’t be so bad but she spent good money
doing the house up, and the landlord has knowingly let her
I think the landlord knew her aunty was moving in but not
for a while so found a tenant for a short period of time to
pay her mortgage while the house was empty and as a bonus
let my sister in law decorate it. I think she was done!
I am sorry, but so do I. In my work with tenants, I always
state that they should spend no money on the property –
the most I suggest is that the landlord pays for materials
and the tenant gives his or her labour for free.
The landlord cannot issue her with a week’s notice –
the tenancy has to last six months before it can be legally
Your sister in
law needs to discuss this with the landlady, preferably with
a witness, advising her that this is invalid notice. A court
would not grant possession on this basis. She needs a minimum
of two month’s notice which cannot end before the expiry
of the tenancy. If the landlady wants her out before then,
she really needs to come up with some compensation for this,
which may enable your sister in law to get another property
quickly – though if she accepts something, she will
have no other recompense in law. In addition, she needs some
recompense for the cost of decorating and labour.
If the landlady is not
amenable, she needs to see a solicitor and she will be able
to stay for the full six months. She could still pursue a
claim for the decorating.
I am afraid it is a hard lesson to learn and most landlords
would not act in this manner, but tenants need to be aware,
some landlords do.
Access and noise
I am on the point of
breakdown because of our tenant:
• owes us six months rent
(we have a CCJ on him but he is pleading poverty);
is causing us concern that he will not move out on the day
specified in the section 21 notice we served (he has emailed
that he will move out on that day although though we are not
has changed a lock (with our consent) at the beginning of
the tenancy but has consistently refused to give us a key;
for the last two weeks has had parties almost every night
which go on until six or seven in the morning. The other residents
of the property are beside themselves.
My husband wants to change the locks (leaving him a key for
the remainder of the tenancy). The tenant does not agree to
Is there anything we can do about the noise nuisance? I am
convinced this will go on until the end of the tenancy and
beyond if he does not go then?
I am so sorry
about the situation you find yourself in. I am afraid it does
illustrate that kindly behaving to someone can sometimes lead
to greater problems for yourself. He should have been served
a notice on ground 8 – owing more than two months rent
arrears, as soon as his rent account reached that stage.
However, you did issue
a section 21 notice. If the tenant remains in the property
after it expires, you should go for a court order using the
accelerated possession procedure. This should be a fairly
speedy option. If he still remains, you will need a bailiff’s
Your husband should not change the locks, this sort of tenant
would be likely to claim harassment. But I change the locks
after he has left as I would also not trust this guy not to
make copies of the key.
As the noise is so bad, why not speak to the neighbours and
see if they are prepared to make statements that could be
used to issue a notice on ground 14, that the tenant has caused
a nuisance - though you would need supporting evidence which
as well as neighbour statements would include warning letters
you have sent. If you have served a notice using ground 14,
you can go to court immediately for possession.
I would speak to your local environmental services and accreditation
scheme – they may have strategies that could help. Good
due to illness
Your advice on the website is awesome but I am writing you
today to please help my mother who is finding her landlady
My Mom has an assured shorthold tenancy which ran out in April.
The landlady said prior to the end of tenancy, that she will
not be renewing the tenancy and in fact will be wanting my
mother to leave (when she fell ill with shingles and could
not work she was unable to pay rent which fell into 12 weeks
It isn't like as if my mother hasn't made an effort to try
and pay the arrears and will do so when she recovers. Even
so, the landlady has had a lawyer send my mother a notice
to quit. But my mother has nowhere to go.
Is the landlady allowed to do this and also how long will
it be before my mother is literally thrown out on the streets?
Sorry to hear
about your mother’s illness – I know shingles
can be very painful and debilitating. Has she applied for
housing benefit? It sounds as though her income has reduced
sufficiently for her to be eligible.
It is not easy to have a claim backdated, but you could assist
her in making a case that because of her illness, she was
unable to claim.
With regard to eviction, unfortunately, as your mother owes
more than eight weeks rent arrears, the landlady can issue
a ground 8 notice on the grounds that she owes more than eight
weeks rent. This is a notice of possession proceedings, or
a notice seeking possession, not a notice to quit. It gives
two weeks notice, but if your mother remains in the tenancy
at the expiry of the notice, the landlady would have to get
a court order to evict her - which could take some weeks.
The other option for the landlady is to issue a section 21
notice, which is a two month notice followed by accelerated
possession procedure, which is usually quite fast.
It is horrible when someone is ill and, through no fault of
their own, ends in a position like this. However, the landlady
is within her rights and some would say, had been quite patient.
Some landlords need that regular income to live on or pay
mortgages. Sorry to say it, but even if your mother makes
a very speedy recovery (and I hope she does), she would have
quite a debt to clear which would probably take some time.
If the circumstances are that the rent is required for mortgage
payments, you can see the difficult position in which the
landlady may find herself.
If the landlady does issue a valid notice, your mother should
see if the local homeless welfare service would be prepared
to help in view of her ill health.
Best wishes for a speedy recovery, and thanks for the compliment.
My tenant was in rent arrears to the value of £2,600.
I got a court order and an eviction date set. But when my
agent visited the property on that day he found the front
door open and no sign of the tenant. He suggested we call
the police to report a burglary, which we did. The police
came and took one look at the house, which looked like it
had been ransacked. Milk had turned to cheese and bread was
bright green etc.
So far our repair costs are in excess of £1,200. There
was also a rat problem I was trying to get sort but tenant
would not allow me access to property with the pest control
The police told me to secure the property and change the locks,
which we did. I left a note on the door giving details of
what had happened and who to contact. The next day the tenant
showed up demanding access. The agent informed her what had
happened and said she is not going back into the property
as she abandoned it and left it unsecured and that as it was
her eviction date, he considered her evicted. He also said
that her belongings were available for her to collect.
She sent friends to collect her stuff, which we gave them,
although we said that they should come back for all the electrical
The tenant is claiming housing benefit but we have reason
to believe she was sub-letting as we have found documents
with other people’s names registered to this address.
I have now had a phone call from the council saying we evicted
her illegally and it will be taking legal action against us.
Is this right, do you think a court of law will look at the
evidence in our favour? I have photographic and video evidence
as well as all the correspondence with the agent, the courts,
and pest control company, plus an incidence number from the
I think you have
a strong case, in that the agent went on the date for eviction
set by the court. Had the tenant remained there, then you
would have had to get a bailiff’s order, but clearly
the indicators were that the tenant had vacated not on that
day, but some time previously.
I would not get embroiled in your discussions with the council
about sub-letting, but stick to what you know applies: you
knew the legal procedure; were quite prepared to get a bailiff’s
warrant but this was unnecessary, in that the tenant did what
was expected by vacating the property. If the local authority
continue with its action, I am afraid you need to see a solicitor
– authorities take these accusations very seriously
and although I think they should take account of the circumstances,
if they don’t, you need to protect yourself.
My tenants gave me
I month’s notice but moved out early. They paid me the
month’s money, but now they have been into my property
and taken pictures of the rooms and are demanding their money
As the tenants decided
to leave early, were they trespassing when they re-entered
my house. What is my position?
I would feel much
easier about answering this if I knew on what grounds the
former tenants were demanding their money back. My view would
be that unless they return the keys and tell you they are
not returning, they still have the right of access. After
all, the notice period gives them time to move out. It also
gives you time to find a new tenant. If you have already done
that and moved somebody else in, it is not unreasonable for
the former tenants to ask for their money back to the extent
that you have received payment twice for the same period.
If they have they
taken photos to show that somebody else has moved in, there
are other considerations. Unless the tenants told you they
had moved out and would not return they could claim illegal
eviction or harassment, or perhaps removal of their goods?
I think you need to discuss the situation with them, find
out the exact nature of their complaint, and take it from
there. I hope you can come to some agreement, but if not you
may need to see a solicitor.
We have just served
section 8 notice on a tenant. If he does leave within this
period how do we ensure handover of our keys and that he does
not take our furnishings with him.
Will we be required
to be at the property on the 14th day, how does it all work?
The only thing
I can advise is that you try and keep lines of communication
open. Your tenant may wish to stay until you get a court order,
or leave before then. I am afraid that ensuring nothing is
stolen is impossible, without being on guard. Though there
have obviously been problems, hence the eviction, a pleasant
conversation, asking whether there is anything you could do
to assist in removal etc. may get a favourable response and
allow for some proper arrangement for the hand-over of keys.
I wish to evict a tenant whose assured shorthold tenancy agreement
ran from 5 July 2005 to 4 January 2006. During the agreement
the tenant moved her boyfriend in, and he now also lives in
This has been a difficult
tenancy. The rent was at first paid by housing benefit, although
because of some change to the tenant’s circumstances
this was stopped. The tenant has done nothing to resolve this
situation despite saying she will. She now owes me a significant
amount of rent. I have a separate judgement on this which
is in the hands of the bailiff.
In November I gave
the tenant two month’s notice to quit the property.
My main concern is
getting her (and boyfriend) to leave the property. A month
has passed since they were due to quit and they are still
there. They now lock the door from the inside and refuse me
I instigated proceedings
myself using the HMCS on line service and submitted a claim
for possession of property to the county court in Manchester
on 10 January. This was deemed to be served on 12 January
to which there was no response from the tenant. I then took
the next stage of filing the request for possession order
and costs which was referred to a judge on 12 January. I have
now received a letter stating that the judge has struck this
claim out on the basis that the notice I served on the tenant
back in November doesn't meet the requirements of S.21(1)(b)
of the Housing Act 1988.
I find this completely
frustrating although appreciate that the law doesn't have
grey areas. Can you advise me on next steps, I am hoping that
I don't have to serve another two month’s notice? If
I do have to serve additional notice on the tenant perhaps
you can advise if there is any template or what wording I
need to use.
I would serve
a Ground 8 notice. This covers situations where the tenant
owes eight weeks or more in rent arrears and involves giving
two month’s notice. It is a mandatory ground, so should
The correct wording
states that it is a two months notice as specified in s.21
of the 1988 Housing Act, amended 1996; gives the dates from
and to and also says the tenant can get assistance from Citizens
Advice or Housing Advice Service or Solicitor. Think about
buying my guide – it has the wording in and examples.
I am afraid I am hard on tenants – as soon as they are
eight weeks in arrears, I advise issuing a notice and before
that, send warning letters that this is what you will do.
I have decided to sell a rental property which I own. The
assured shorthold tenancy agreement issued to my tenant is
for months ending in April 2006. If issue notice on 16 January
2006, can I expect the property to be vacated two months after
that date – which would be 16 March 2006?
think so, unless your tenant wants to go. If the tenancy ends
in April, so should the notice. Also, if your tenant does
not have anywhere to go to, may stay until you get a court
order, which could be another few weeks, especially with Easter
in the middle of April.
I have a tenant in my flat who is two months behind in his
rent payments. I can't get hold of him but his possessions
are still in the premises and I think he only comes back occasionally.
I would like to issue an eviction notice, if only to scare
him into paying up. Is there a basic template of eviction
notices, or are they all different depending on circumstances?
I advise landlords to get in touch
with Oyez-Straker, which sells notices seeking possession.
Ask for the one for eight weeks rent arrears.
However, I also
wonder whether it is worth asking for a ‘Notice to Quit,’
which provides for four week’s notice where you suspect
a property has been abandoned. If the tenant is not living
there as his main home, he is not entitled to any housing
benefit. The NTQ gives the tenant the opportunity to advise
you that he is there. If you issue both, you are covered if
he gets in touch to say he lives there, and you can still
go for eviction on rent arrears. If he does not get in touch,
you should be ok without going to court as he has abandoned.
On 18 January I have
served my tenants with a Section 21 notice, which means they
should move out on the 17 March. However, they are not forthcoming
when asked by the agent if they have found somewhere else
I have been led to
believe that if on the 17 March they have not moved out I
will need to take them to court and that it might take another
three to four months (depending on the local courts) before
I can regain possession. Is this timescale correct?
Also, I am told that
although I have rent protection insurance I am not going to
be able to make a claim since I served Section 21 notice.
Is this correct?
The main reason I
decided to give the tenants notice was that they have been
late in paying their rent about five times in the last 12
months, usually only paying part of the rent.
Using a section
21 notice is the accelerated possession procedure. Provided
it has been correctly served, I would not expect it to take
three to four months to get possession, though with the Easter
recess only a month later, I suppose it could take longer
than the three to four weeks I would expect.
It may be worth
opening dialogue with them, along the lines of ‘can
I assist in any way, with references, help with removals’
– it would be better to ascertain what they are doing
and whether there is likelihood of them moving out soon, if
not on 17 March – there are costs involved in going
to court. No pressure should be put on them, of course, as
we do not want them alleging harassment.
I cannot say whether
it is correct that you cannot claim for outstanding rent arrears
because you chose to evict them in the least problematic way.
I am afraid it is a question of reading the policy closely,
small print particularly. This should clearly state that there
is a restriction on the criteria for claiming. If you can’t
find the clause, ask the insurance company which section it
is in – they cannot remake policy conditions.
Assuming a landlord
successfully proves the case using ground 8 against an assured
tenant, can the court grant a suspended possession order or
must it make an outright order?
As a ground 8
is a mandatory ground, my understanding is that there is no
argument – possession must be granted. The only matter
on which there is any leniency is over immediate possession
or possession at a later date – the maximum being eight
weeks, I think. It is different for secure council tenants
– in which case ‘reasonableness’ has to
We have a problem
tenant against whom we were able to obtain a possession order
(she has not paid us any rent since she moved in and now owes
us about £5000). The possession order was for 5 January
2006 but she refused to leave. Consequently I have now applied
for a court bailiff to get her out.
But I am worried that
when we do get a date for the bailiff to take action what
will happen if she will not let the bailiff in (I have a key
for the door). And what if she barricades herself in the flat,
and does not let the bailiff in, or changes the locks?
What can we do in
the bailiff can’t get her out? She is using delay tactics
at every turn.
I believe the
Bailiff will ask a police officer to be in attendance as a
matter of course. This may be sufficient to persuade your
tenant to co-operate, but if not, be prepared to remove doors
to allow access for the Bailiff to remove goods. The police
should remove the tenant, if she won’t go willingly.
purchasing at auction a property currently occupied by tenants.
The sale catalogue tells me it is ‘a terraced house
being sold subject to and with the benefit of an assured periodic
tenancy at a rental of £3,300 per annum).
If I buy the property,
how much notice will I have to give the tenants if I want
them to leave the property, which I intend to modernise and
I would suggest the seller serves the tenants
with notice himself. However, if left with a tenant, you need
to see the tenancy agreement before purchase, to ensure that
it is a valid assured periodic tenancy which has expired and
has automatically converted to a statutory periodic tenancy.
If it is, you should be able to give the tenants two months’
notice. If they are still there at the expiry of the notice,
you would need to get a court order.
Newly acquired flat
I have recently completed
on a flat in which tenants are living. They say they have
a rolling assured shorthold agreement with the previous landlord.
I have not seen a copy of this. I was under the impression
that I would take possession, and verbally gave six weeks
notice at the point I completed on the flat. They now say
that I have to give them a full two months notice. I do not
have a deposit from them, and have not signed a tenancy agreement
What options do I have to take possession as soon as possible?
Am I entitled to a deposit? What is the minimum notice period?
Is it from a rent payment date or any date? And can the rent
My view is that the person
you purchased from should have taken the necessary steps to
end the tenancy before you took possession of it as landlord.
You could try and use ‘accelerated possession proceedings’,
but this would require a minimum of two months anyway.
But have you received
rent from the tenants since you took over? If so, I would
be inclined to think a new tenancy has been established. And
in that case, you would find it difficult to get the tenants
out in less than six months, the minimum period of Assured
The only way to end the tenancy more quickly is if there are
legitimate grounds in law – rent arrears being the most
In the case of a continuing tenancy that has run six months
or over, the minimum notice period without grounds for possession
is two months. The Housing Act 2004 did away with the necessity
of notice being served from the rent payment date. However,
I would advise that you do go from the rent payment date,
as some courts are not aware of recent changes – we
had a case in our area which was thrown out because it did
not follow the rent payment dates.
You can increase the rent – if you want to issue a new
tenancy agreement for a minimum of six months.
With regard to the deposit, did the previous owner not take
one, which should have been passed to you? If not, it is extremely
difficult to see how a tenant, aware that you want to repossess
as soon as possible, can be persuaded that he should pay you
a deposit. If a deposit has been paid to the original owner,
who will pay it back?
Sorry – it seems all bad news for you. You could try
and persuade your tenants to leave early – by giving
a good reference, offering to assist with removals or with
some other inducement, but make sure nothing can be construed
as harassment or illegal eviction – they are not a good
start to a new career in property management.
As always, you may be well advised to consult a solicitor
who specialises in housing law for his opinion on whether
a new tenancy has been created.
I rent a room with shared facilities, I am the only person
living in the property. The heating is inadequate and it’s
freezing, and my landlord says he wants me to leave as he
let the property to a family. I am not behind with my rent.
Can he do this?
Difficult for me to say without
seeing the tenancy agreement. If you have a standard, assured
shorthold tenancy for a house in multiple occupation, even
though nobody else is living there, you are still a tenant.
The landlord can go through the normal procedure to evict
you by serving a notice seeking possession. It would involve
giving you two month’s notice, to end when the assured
shorthold tenancy does, or on the monthly anniversary if it
is a statutory periodic tenancy. Unfortunately, this is accelerated
possession and there really is nothing you can do about it,
if the landlord serves legal notice.
A client of mine has
split permanently from his partner and they no longer live
together. By mutual agreement she currently occupies the house
he owns where she lives with their children. She is happy
to move on so he can take possession and sell the house to
repay the mortgage and other joint debts.
There is no intention to create hardship for the lady or their
children but so as to be re-housed she needs a formal notice
She has no formal tenancy and pays nothing in rent while my
client pays the mortgage and all the bills. I think she may
have just a bare licence to occupy. So what form of notice
should be served to obtain vacant possession by or before
the end of March 2006?
I would have thought
she had rights under matrimonial law to continue occupation.
Whilst I realise she wishes to move on, I think any notice
her partner serves on her would be discredited by the people
who are asking for it because of those rights. She would need
to prove that it is impossible for her to continue to live
there, because she could not afford to do so. I’d advise
that they see solicitors specialist in family law, to be quite
clear about her rights, simply in order to prove to the local
authority that every avenue has been explored and she cannot
remain in occupation.
Assuming that my section
21 notice and six months assured tenancy agreement are in
order, what defence could my tenant produce to prevent a court
order being given - I have a letter from him which confirms
(since he refers to the notice) that he received it more than
two months before the end of the tenancy.
I am not aware
of any defence against a mandatory ground such as section
I have tenants who
signed a six month shorthold assured tenancy nearly two years
ago. At the same time the agents (who were on a let only basis)
served an s21 notice that required possession at the end of
the first six month tenancy. The tenants were fine, they stayed
and the tenancy reverted to a periodic tenancy.
However, over the last year they have fallen behind in paying
and now are over two months in arrears. I would like them
to leave. Is the original s21 notice still valid, and can
I proceed directly to accelerated possession or do I have
to serve a new s21 notice and wait two months before proceeding
on mandatory grounds?
I think you would have to
serve a new section 21 because the original notice presumably
made some reference to the time period of the tenancy. You
could try and use the original notice but you are unlikely
to know whether this will work until some weeks after you
have attempted to get an order – and if it does not,
you would then be faced with re-starting the process. You
could go to court on the original section 21 notice, but in
addition, serve a new one. In this way, if the original is
thrown out, you have not wasted any time. I would also issue
a notice seeking possession on ground 8 – that the tenants
owe two months or more rent arrears.
When an assured shorthold tenancy agreement changes
to a periodic tenancy agreement, the notice period for possession
used to be two months from a rent payment date. And this is
the position still confirmed on Internet advice sites. However
my solicitor says the law has changed and notice can now be
two months from any date. Is he correct?
I am not aware of the change
your solicitor has mentioned although I do know of a local case
in which it was agreed notice from any date could be valid,
but a claim for possession was thrown out by the court. So even
if your solicitor is right my concern would be that the court
might not have heard of the change and could throw the case
anyway. In which case, you would have to start again. I always
advise people to go for more than they have to, be it safety
measures or notice period, just to be on the safe side.
Last July I rented
a room to a couple. I drew up a tenancy agreement myself and
we both signed it. This commits the tenants to pay rent every
week, and gives either party the right to give one week’s
notice (I took one week rent as deposit and there is no rent
After three and a half months I find I cannot live with them
any more because they are noisy, dirty and rude. I worry about
leaving them alone in the house.
In mid October I informed the tenants verbally that I need
the room back by end of November (giving them six week’s
notice). They said they would move out when they had found
At the beginning of November I gave the tenants a written
reminder that they should move out by the end of the month.
They again said that when they find a place they would give
What should I do if the tenants do not move out at the end
of the month? I have the feeling they might do something bad
I am so sorry for you. This
sounds terrible. If I am correct, the people are living in
your house, with you. If so, they are lodgers. They have no
security, other than that you will give them reasonable notice.
You have done so. If the notice comes to an end, I cannot
see that waiting for them to go out and then changing the
locks would be wrong. Obviously, bag their goods and leave
them outside. I am afraid that you may be right and they will
try and something bad to you – your only recourse then
is the Police. Although I am certain that in the circumstances
the actions I have suggested are fine, perhaps you may feel
more confident seeing a solicitor and getting him to write
to them – then at least they know you have sought legal
advice and other people are aware of them.
want my possessions back
I have been evicted from by apartment. The Sheriffs
came to around when I was not there and changed the locks.
I had been in dispute with the property manager over my lease
and she made it difficult for me to pick up my property.
I have spoken to her about this on a number of occasions and
actually went to the apartment with some helpers to pick up
my things. However she did not allow me in since she said
she was going home (she lives in the same building).
When I went back a second time, again with helpers, I was
told that my property had been thrown away. All of my furniture,
my laptop computer, jewellery, my own and my daughter’s
clothes, as well as important and confidential documents such
as my birth certificate, immunisation record, and social security
card had been dumped – in fact everything I owned including
I consulted a lawyer who was told a few of my belongings had
been stored: namely two speakers, a fan, a television, half
of my dinner service and a CD case. Apparently everything
else had been thrown away. I later found out that my dinner
table and laptop had been given to somebody else in the same
apartment, and my clothing had been distributed among a number
What I can do about this?
This sounds very
serious, notwithstanding the eviction. I would usually advise
the small claims court, but that does not help with the hassle
you will have of getting a new birth certificate and the like,
and the distress of having lost personal photos and papers.
Go through the items you have lost, list and value them. See
what (realistic) figure you come up with. Have you asked for
the furniture from the people who have taken it? Have you
discussed this with the Police, because it would constitute
theft, unless a Bailiff had ordered that your possessions
were to be kept to cover the debt, which is quite a rare occurrence?
I think I would go back to the solicitor and ask him whether
he would take the case for civil damages.
We have just let a flat on a shorthold assured tenancy
and the tenant has not paid the rent. We cannot get hold of
her to ask about this. As she is proving so difficult we would
like her to leave.
Also, we need to do some work on the flat at some point which
will render it uninhabitable for a short while.
I believe the unpaid rent means I can gain possession, but what
is the correct procedure?
correct procedure is: if she owes a full eight week’s
arrears, you obtain a notice using ground 8 – see various
answers in this section. Alternatively, if you believe the
tenant has abandoned the property or not moved in, you can
issue a Notice to Quit. This is a 28 day notice, which should
allow you to change the locks at its expiry, although unless
your agreement stated that the tenancy could be ended by this
means, you could still risk the tenant returning after 29
days claiming she has been illegally evicted. If you took
references, or next of kin details, you should contact them,
and courteously ask if they know of the situation with the
I currently have tenants
who at the start seemed great. Now both are causing nuisance
to neighbours and have damaged my property during bouts of
They are a young couple who were expecting their first child
when they moved in nearly months ago. The neighbours have
complained on three separate occasions about shouting and
other nuisance, and the police have been called out four times
to deal with domestic violence.
The woman has now moved back in with her mother and does not
live in the property any more although her possessions are
still in the house. When she comes to the property the situation
between the two escalates and often ends in the police being
I went to collect the rent today only to find that the woman
has turned up with some ‘muscle’, and had forced
the back door causing considerable damage. The police had
been called again. Meanwhile the remaining tenant did not
have the rent money to pay me.
I have now served a section 21 notice on the remaining tenant,
whose name is on the tenancy agreement, to vacate due to causing
a nuisance. However, I am worried there will be further damage
done before he leaves.
Do I have any rights
as this is an impossible situation. In view of the criminal
damage that has occurred can I get possession back any sooner?
You can serve
a notice using ground 14, that ‘someone living in or
visiting the property has caused a nuisance to someone living
in or visiting the locality’ (you need the full wording
for the grounds).
You should also include ground 13, ‘that the condition
of the property has got worse because of the behaviour of
the tenant or any other person living there’.
Ground 13 requires two weeks notice, ground 14 means you could
go to court immediately for an order. The difficulty, however,
with both these grounds, is that they are discretionary, which
means a court has to decide whether it is reasonable that
you want possession.
It sounds as though you have a good case, but you need evidence.
Police reports help, as do statements from people living next
door that have been disturbed. Speak to your local accreditation
scheme, if there is one – they may have officers that
can help with this. If not, you really need to discuss the
situation with a solicitor, who may be able to tell you whether
there is sufficient evidence to get possession. Otherwise,
go through with the section 21 – which is why it was
devised, to provide a simple way for landlords to be guaranteed
possession, provided it is issued correctly.
21 not mentioned
Our tenants moved
in to our property in June - the agreement is dated 22 May
and is for a ‘certain term’ of six months commencing
on 8 June and expiring on 7 December. I wrote to the tenants
on 7 October advising that we would not be able to extend
the lease and that we would like them to vacate on the 7 December
as per the tenancy agreement.
When I subsequently called them to ask if there were any problems
or anything I could do as we had not heard from them, one
of the tenants told me that they could not afford to move
and had been advised by the local council to stay in the property
until they are evicted.
I realise that the notice period has not yet expired but I
am conscious that when it does expire on the 7 December I
will have to initiate the accelerated procedure to regain
possession of the property. I have the necessary claim form
from the courts but I am concerned that the notice I served
on the 7 October may not be accepted by the judge as I did
not make reference to Section 21 of the Housing Act in my
Please can you
advise me whether you think the letter that does not mention
Section 21 will be acceptable to the court. If not, am I right
in thinking that I will have to serve notice again, which
will ultimately give the tenants until the new year before
I can apply for the accelerated procedure?
I am sorry, but my advice is always to include both reference
to the fact that you are evicting under section 21 of the
Housing Act and the advice that is available to them: solicitor,
citizens advice and the like. You could try to evict on your
existing notice, but if it fails, you are stuck. I am afraid
it is better to re-issue to take effect 7 December. When the
notice expires on 7 February you still have to get a court
date, so expect the tenants to be there well into the New
You don’t mention your tenants’ circumstances.
If they are hoping to be classed as ‘vulnerable’
under the homeless legislation, there is probably little you
can do. However, if they really cannot afford to move, and
have no children (the usual reason for vulnerability), they
may be prepared to move if you assist them with removal costs.
In 1998 I bought a property comprised of four self-contained
flats. Two of these were vacant at the time the other two
had tenants and I was handed two assured shorthold tenancy
agreements between the two tenants and the previous owner,
both dated December 1997. One tenant subsequently departed
but the other entered into a new six month assured shorthold
tenancy agreement with me on the day that I assumed ownership.
All went quite well
for some years. However, the tenant has been troublesome for
some time now and has been in disputes of various types with
all the other tenants, in fights, and has even threatened
to shoot a visitor to another tenant with a gun he claimed
he kept in his flat.
I am not alone in
assuming that his unreasonable behaviour has developed as
a result of excessive consumption of alcohol made possible
by the cash he receives as a ‘disability allowance’.
Out of a sense of
duty to my other tenants I finally resorted to issuing a final
written warning followed by notice to quit. The tenant took
legal advice and has totally denied all allegations, but claims
to have been resident at the flat since 1994 and therefore
to have ‘sitting tenant’ status.
What is my position
and what action should I now take?
The law which
introduced assured shorthold tenancies was the 1988 Housing
Act. If a notice of assured shorthold was issued with the
tenancy in 1994, he is an assured shorthold tenant. A sitting
tenant would have to pre-date 1988.
Check what you
hold in the way of tenancies and also what you issued. I would
expect you to go for the accelerated possession procedure
by issuing a Notice of possession proceedings, giving two
month’s notice, to end not before the expiry of the
current tenancy period (at the expiry of which you would go
to court to obtain an order). There should be no argument
about possession as this is a mandatory ground.
of the severe nuisance, you may have tried to use ground 14,
that he has caused nuisance. This is a discretionary ground
and no notice period is specified. You must make a good case,
though, that it is reasonable for you to want possession.
You would do this by providing statements from the threatened
neighbours, Police Incident numbers and the like.
Police have investigated and the gun is licensed. If your
local authority runs an accreditation scheme, it may be able
to advise and widen the options available to you.
I really think
you need to see a Solicitor – when evicting on a discretionary
ground, it is always a good idea. Good luck.
agreement runs out at the end of the year. I’m a bit
confused about the notice period I must give. Does this have
to expire on the same date as the agreement or can it run
just over? If this creates a periodic tenancy, is the notice
An assured shorthold
tenancy runs until the expiry of the tenancy term. If notice
has not been served, it converts automatically to a statutory
periodic tenancy. As your tenancy expires at the end of the
year, I would assume it commenced in June. We’ll use
28 June for ease of reckoning.
In which case,
to end the tenancy at the end of the term (27 December), notice
would have to be issued before 28 October. You could issue
it any time and give more than two month’s notice, but
it must be issued before 28 October and state that it will
expire on 27 December. However, adding the day, to expire
on 28 December, means there can be no misunderstanding, he
has had a minimum of two month’s notice. I would also
ensure that in the section that says ‘action will not
be taken before’, you use the date of 29 December –
again safeguarding you. If, however, you wish the tenancy
to run a bit longer, and no notice is given, it would automatically
convert to a statutory periodic tenancy on 28 December. The
same notice period would apply, the same tenancy dates, and
the same rules. If in doubt, always seek a solicitor’s
advice when evicting.
payment to move
Our tenant is being
very difficult – he entered into a shorthold tenancy
agreement 18 months ago at which point we told him the property
was being sold to a developer. Because the tenancy could only
be short term, we offered the property at a very low rent.
Recently we gave the tenant the normal notice of two month
and offered him alternative accommodation. Out of the blue
he told us he wanted a large lump sum to move out.
On top of this, we have realised he is running a business
from the premises and has been served with two week’s
notice to desist.
How long will it take to get rid of him from then?
If he has been given a legal
notice, at the expiry of the two months, go to the court and
get an order. You would be using accelerated possession procedure
and this should be a fairly speedy process. I would rescind
the offer of alternative accommodation, you had no need to
make it and the tenant is obviously an unpleasant character.
Make it clear that you will go for possession and that large
lump sums are not necessary when you have behaved in a legal
manner and gone further than you need have by offering him
alternative accommodation. You can do what some landlords
do, which is assist with removal, if you wish.
The final paragraph
on an order for possession reads: ‘…ground 8 Schedule
2 Housing Act 1988, and is governed by section 89 Housing
Act 1980, and, subject only to a successful appeal, the last
date to which the court has any jurisdiction to delay the
giving of possession (whether by variation of the order or
suspending any warrant for possession issued under it) is
six weeks from the making of the order’.
I am note sure what this means. Could you please explain?
This limits the
length of time the court can give before possession is required
– it would usually be immediate or 14 days. It is unlikely
that a court would allow a bad tenant to stay six weeks, though
suppose it is possible if children are involved.
given three times
My parents own a home
which they have rented out for over a year through a lettings
agency. They now wish to sell the property and have told the
agent to give the required notice – which he says he
has done – and have since been notified that the property
has been vacated. However, when my mother tried to make arrangements
to pick up the keys, the agent said the tenants had not moved
out after all, and were refusing to leave because the council
had nowhere for them to go. The agent said he had given notice
to the tenants three times, each time for three months.
What are my parents’
rights? They need to sell this home to generate an income.
What is the agent doing here?
Why serve the notice three times? The next time it expires,
go to the court for a possession order. If this has been legally
served used the accelerated possession procedure, there will
be no argument in court. It is not your parents responsibility
to provide housing if the local authority have a responsibility
towards the tenants. Nobody likes to make people homeless,
but this is why the assured shorthold tenancy was devised
– to allow maximum re-possession rights to the landlord.
The agent does not seem to be acting for your parents –
make a complaint to ARLA, the organisation most letting agents