Unlawful eviction and what it means for you
Like many jobs, being a landlord has both its benefits and pitfalls. One of the worst situations you can find yourself in is being faced with the daunting prospect of evicting a problem tenant. It’s something every landlord dreads and rightly hopes they will never have to do. However rather than avoid the situation and bury your head in the sand, it’s important to remember that no matter how uncomfortable the prospect of evictions may be – they are often necessary in order to prevent your business from ultimately suffering.
The reality of evictions is that it’s not always a case of making ‘problem tenants’ homeless, but rather putting your foot down when even the most well-intentioned tenants have fallen into arrears that are starting to directly affect your own financial situation. In any case, raising these issues is never a pleasant process. Of course, the word ‘eviction’ sounds quite daunting, even aggressive – however on the contrary it is actually an extremely common process that can actually be relatively simple.
Play it by the rules
As tempting as it may be to take matters into your own hands (especially when dealing with those particularly tricky tenants) – it’s important to dig deep to find that inner calm and keep your composure. Professionalism is key with these situations and losing your cool is guaranteed to escalate the situation. It’s natural to want to physically remove the tenant yourself, especially if tensions are high – however this could end up catastrophically damaging for you as a landlord, and get you into hot water. This could not only delay the process significantly, but also add on an extra financial cost.
Remember- your tenant still has statutory rights, including the right to quiet enjoyment, preventing you as a landlord from simply showing up unannounced. These rights still stand, even if the tenancy has been breached on their part. Disturbing your tenants may result in your tenant submitting a counter claim and gaining the rights to remain in your property, as well as an entitlement to financial compensation.
Don’t forget, it’s crucial you do things by the book. This is the most effective and safe approach to eviction that will see your back covered, and ensure the future welfare of your tenants.
Five key steps to evicting your tenant:
Step 1 – Keep your cool
Rather than exploding with anger, first try the diplomatic approach. Politely ask the tenant to leave and explain your reasons behind your decision. They may well surprise you and amicably agree to vacate.
Step 2 – Weigh up your options
It’s important to do your homework here. There are many ways you can go about this process – some routes more complicated, expensive and timely than others. Make sure things don’t get messy or confusing and come up with a definitive plan of action.
Step 3 – Possession notice
If reason fails you with your tenant, you may now have to consider serving a possession notice (either a Section 21 or Section 8 notice). Which one you serve depends on your circumstances, so again be sure to do your homework.
Step 4 – Court orders
If your possession notice has expired, and if the tenant is yet to vacate the property – it may now be time to arranging a hearing at a county court.
Step 5 – Calling the bailiffs
At this point, most tenants will now vacate the property as ordered. However, some may still refuse. This is when you may be forced to call on the Court Bailiffs to remove them from your premises once and for all.
If you’re feeling daunted by the prospect of evicting one of your tenants, it’s important to seek advice and have as much information as possible to hand. Contact a Solicitor that specialises in Property Law to learn how this process can be made as painless as possible, for both you and your tenant.