Currently viewing the tag: "assured tenancy agreement"
Tenant Eviction - How Landlords should do it

Tenant Eviction – How Landlords should do it

Landlords Need To Know How To Handle Tenant Rent Arrears

As many UK landlords already know, there are always some issues that can arise during the course of a tenancy. These can vary from essential repairs to rent arrears and with the UK still slowly recovering from a double dip recession, money is tight all around.

With this in mind Legal 4 Landlords offer landlords some sound advice on dealing with tenants in rent arrears before being forced to take legal action for the eviction of the defaulting tenant.

Some tenants are still struggling financially and many are increasingly finding it hard to keep up with their monthly rental payments as well as dealing with the increasing cost of living. Many tenants experience problems due to changes in personal circumstances, such as redundancy or pay cuts, rather than intentionally refusing to pay rent.

Having to pay the mortgage on rental property and not receiving the rent is stressful for all landlords without Rent Guarantee Insurance, but when a tenant is having difficulty paying the rent, there are still a number of options open to landlords before having to resort to eviction.

  • Try to resolve arrears with the tenant to avoid time consuming and often costly court proceedings, especially if they have generally paid in full and on time.
  • Discuss a realistic payment plan with your tenant and encourage them to pay what they can each month to keep down their arrears, confirming everything you agree upon in writing
  • Seek a money order via the Small Claims Court which will order the tenant to pay back the money they owe. This can happen at any time during the tenancy and you do not need to ask your tenant to leave. If the money order isn’t settled within 14 days then your tenant will have a County Court Judgement (CCJ) entered against their name and the order can be enforced via the courts. (Remember that if your tenant is genuinely not in a position to pay then this may be slightly unfair as you will only be worsening their position).

If the tenant still refuses to pay up or insists that they can longer afford the rent, then landlords must follow the legal process for eviction of the tenant in order to recover possession of their rental property.

Serve Notice To Quit

The benefit of an Assured Short-Hold Tenancy (AST) is that the provisions make it much easier to evict a tenant than other tenancy agreements.

Briefly, there are two ways of serving notice to quit when your tenant has fallen into arrears.

1. Section 21 – end of tenancy possession

Section 21 enables a landlord to gain possession at the end of a tenancy without providing reason. There are two types of Section 21 notices: the Section 21(a) notice for possession of a periodic tenancy (that is, when the fixed term of the lease has expired and not been renewed); and the Section 21(b) notice for possession of a fixed term tenancy.

With the Section 21(a) notice for a periodic tenancy, you must provide notice of two months’ or the amount of time between rent payments (e.g. 3 months for quarterly payments), whichever is greater.

If you want to serve notice at any point during the fixed term of the tenancy, you must serve a Section 21(b) notice. As with Section 21(a) you must provide at least two months’ notice, however the earliest date on which the tenant must vacate the property cannot be earlier than the last day of the fixed term of the lease.

Note: you must have secured the tenants deposit in one of the 3 government approved tenancy deposit protection schemes otherwise the Section 21 notice could be invalid.

2. Section 8 – fault based possession

Unlike Section 21, the Section 8 notice can be served at any point during the tenancy. However, it is a lengthier process so it is advisable only to use this route if you have more than 3 months left of the fixed term.

There are 17 grounds on which you can claim fault based possession, 8 of which are mandatory i.e. if the landlord can prove these then the court must give possession. Rent arrears falls under the mandatory ground 8 as well as discretionary grounds 10 and 11, all requiring two weeks’ notice.

If the tenant refuses to vacate and/or hasn’t paid their arrears after the notice period has elapsed, you will need to apply to the court for a possession order and/or a money order.

Legal 4 Landlords can handle all aspects of debt/rent recovery and are the UK’s leading specialists in tenant evictions.

Under a possession order, the court sets a date for the tenant to vacate the property after which they can be forcibly removed by bailiffs.

UK Landlords are warned not attempt to evict tenants themselves or they could face legal action for unlawful eviction and landlords should always use the professional services of an eviction specialist.

Fraudulent tenancies on the increase in the UK

Are Tenant Applicants Really Who They Claim To Be?

UK Landlords and letting agents are being warned about an increase in bogus tenant applications.

Fraudulent applicants have been filling out tenancy application forms provided by honest landlords and agents, giving inaccurate or misleading information, in a bid to secure the rental of the property.

It is not unknown for the fraudsters to move from property to property, with no intention of keeping up with the rent, even within the same small town.

Fraudulent tenants often give false information on where they have been living previously to throw referencing companies and letting agents off the trail.

They are also very difficult to evict as the more professional bad tenants appear to know their way round the legal system. Eviction of these “professional bad tenants” is better left to an eviction specialist such as Legal 4 Landlords.

Tenant fraud has been problem for letting agents and landlords alike for a number of years and is apparently on the increase in some parts of the UK.

It is essential that landlords and their agents have a checklist for new tenants that include obtaining ID documents and proof of current residency at the earliest stages of a tenancy application.

Landlords and their agents need to be alert for anything unusual that could increase the risk for the landlord.

Comprehensive tenant referencing services are a vital tool for landlords and letting agents to spot anomalies, oddities and the potential for fraud in all tenancy applications.

Tips for landlords and letting agents to help reduce Tenant Fraud.

  • Request photo ID
  • Obtain a credit check – individuals with good credit histories are generally good tenants.
  • Use a professional company, such as Legal 4 Landlords for thorough tenant referencing
  • Get references from employers – Obtain written references and where possible speak to the employer personally
  • Get references from all previous landlords – although references from landlords may need to be taken with a pinch of salt as some landlords just want to get rid of problem tenants and will give good references.
  • Obtain copies of payslips and bank statements
  • Compare addresses shown on the application with those shown on ID documents
  • Look at what kind of car the prospective tenant drives
  • Trust your gut instinct
  • Do not take anything at face value

Landlords are urged to double check everything and if they have any reasonable suspicion that things are not quite what they seem, then they should refuse the tenancy, no matter how desperate they are to get someone in their property. Letting to a dishonest tenant will cost the landlord even more financial heartache in the long term.

Landlords should also beware of another common practice employed by dishonest tenants – subletting!

Sub-letting is an illegal practice that the UK Government are trying to stamp out, however it has become a common practice among fraudsters in the private rented sector, (PRS).

When tenants have accepted the landlord’s terms and conditions regarding the tenancy, signed the AST and apparently appear to have moved in. Only to rent the property out again to another unsuspecting dupe at a profit. Often in cases where this happens the bogus tenant will abscond with everyones money, leaving the sub-letting tenant homeless and the poor, unsuspecting landlord high and dry.

When a landlord carries out regular periodic property maintenance, they should check that the occupier is still the same person named on the assured shorthold tenancy agreement, (AST).

There Will Never Be A Better Time To Invest In Property

MyPropertyPowerTeam.co.uk helps property investors and landlords build their own property power team to enable them to profit from property - Visit our main site now!