As a landlord, there are some things you might think you can do yourself. However, the s21 eviction process is tricky at best, and here are the reasons you need a landlord lawyer.
The s21 Notice Period
To evict your tenant, you first must give them written notice of possession. This means that if they’re on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, this usually means issuing them with s21 notice form 6a or s8 notice form 2a. You have to follow strict rules for this, which means your s21 notice will likely fail if done incorrectly. Your lawyer has experience producing these forms. Therefore they ensure it’s worded correctly so as not to invalidate it later in court.
Your s21 notice expires after ten months, so if your tenant hasn’t moved out by then, you can issue them with s21 notice form s8 (if they’re an assured shorthold tenant) or s21 notice for a protected tenancy s3. However, once this expires, you must go to court to evict them. If your s21 is done incorrectly and the judge finds it against you, likely, your s8/s3 won’t be valid therefore letting your tenants stay on!
Your landlord lawyer knows exactly what evidence to provide to invalidate these notices and will fight hard against any counterclaim from the tenant. They also know what evidence is needed for a successful possession claim – including how many photographs are required, how many times you need to request access, etc.
The s42 Notice
If s21 notices aren’t working, your landlord’s lawyer will advise issuing the s42 notice. This is a mandatory eviction for non-payment of rent which does not have a time limit. It can be used to evict tenants after s21 has expired. It’s also easier than s8 or s3 as no court proceedings are required. These can be done yourself, but if your tenant makes a counterclaim, it could invalidate the s21 notice further down the line. Your lawyer knows what evidence is needed and how best to produce it. Therefore, you don’t leave yourselves open to counterclaims in future cases.
Statutory Excuses for Disrepair
When your tenants are withholding rent, you can’t use s8 but can issue a notice under section 11 of the Housing Act 1985. This gives them two weeks to remedy the problem, or they’ll be evicted. You may think you know what constitutes “reasonable” behavior. Still, if your lawyer disagrees with you, then they should handle this on your behalf rather than having an argument in court about it! If you’ve already given them notice under s11 and they’re still refusing to pay their rent, your next step is to use the accelerated procedure to get a possession order without going to court.
Accelerated Procedure for Possession Orders
The accelerated procedure is one of the most popular ways of evicting tenants. It’s available for most Assured Shorthold Tenancies but excludes those whose rent is less than £100 per month or where the tenant has lived in the property for two years. Accelerated procedure is faster than normal court proceedings without all the same formalities.
However, if your tenant makes a counterclaim against you (for example, if they say you didn’t provide their deposit paperwork), then it invalidates your s21 notice and stops them from having to leave! Only an experienced landlord lawyer will know how to manage this so that the accelerated process can still be used.
Warrant of Possession Eviction
This is similar to accelerated eviction (therefore doesn’t to deposit disputes). If s8 notices aren’t working, you can issue an s21 notice, and if this also fails, use the warrant of possession. This gives the court bailiffs the right to evict tenants without any more warning or notice. However, many judges won’t grant warrants unless your lawyer is present as they’re scared that lawyers will overuse them, which could cause unnecessary stress for everyone involved!
Evicting Guarantors Before Tenants
Most tenancies are available to both tenants and guarantors. However, some landlords may wish to end these agreements early (for example, if their rental income has increased, it no longer covers the costs). If you issued an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, you’ll need a section 21 notice form 6a to guarantors before tenants. Your lawyer can help ensure this goes through and that they don’t have the chance to make a counterclaim or interfere in your business.
Every case is different, and landlords deserve representation when evicting their tenants, whether you’re trying to reclaim rent arrears, home repairs, or simply want them out! Your landlord lawyer has handled many cases like yours, so you will know exactly what needs to be done and how best to go about it. They can advise on all eviction methods, including which one would be most suitable for your circumstances. You also get advice on how to handle any counterclaims from tenants that may invalidate notices. This will save you an unnecessary trip to court!