If tenants cause damage or fail to pay their rent you may ultimately have no option but to recover possession of your property.
Sometimes our clients need professional help to remove troublesome tenants. At Fosters we offer a full service in relation to the possession process, one that provides peace of mind throughout the litigation through to the enforcement stage.
What are the first steps?
Firstly we invite clients to a confidential appointment. Appointments can be arranged over the phone if you live out of reach of one of our offices in East Anglia. A solicitor will discuss the situation with you, take instructions and ensure we have all the important information. Crucially we need a copy of the tenancy agreement, correspondence with the tenant, deposit information, a schedule of any arrears and copies of any notices that have already been served. The initial appointment helps us to understand your position as a landlord and to ensure all procedures have been followed in respect of the tenancy.
If the proper procedure has not been followed, there may be difficulties in removing tenants and as the landlord you can unwittingly expose yourself to claim from tenants or even criminal sanctions. The correct procedure to follow depends upon the type of tenancy agreement in place and the precise terms.
The most common type of residential tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy or AST. These can be periodic tenancies or fixed term tenancies. Tenants cannot usually be removed during fixed terms unless they have breached the agreement in a serious way.
What notice should be served?
If your tenant has breached the terms of the agreement it might be appropriate to serve a Section 8 notice under the Housing Act 1988 (HA 1988). This type of notice has a specific form and provides the tenant with varying notice periods depending upon the type of breach. Alternatively, if the fixed term is coming to an end or if it has expired (and it might be the case that the tenant has not breached the agreement) a landlord can serve a Section 21 notice (HA 1988) which gives a tenant at least 2 months to vacate. Proof of service of the notice should be obtained since this might be something the judge wants to see if the tenants fail to co-operate and the matter ends up going to court.
Would we end up going to court?
If your tenant does not leave by the specified date we can represent you within a claim for a possession order. We steer you through the entire process of the claim, including pre-action correspondence and negotiation, drafting the claim form, filing the claim at court, securing representation at any hearing that the court lists and in relation to enforcement once the possession order has been made and the tenant still refuses to leave.
Feel free to contact our Litigation Team to discuss any landlord and tenant issues you have - we are here to assist and offer cost effective solutions.