Regaining possession of rented residential property is not always a straightforward process.
This is because most tenants in residential properties are protected from eviction under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 which made it an offence to harass a tenant of a residential property or to evict a residential tenant without a Court order. A landlord may face a criminal conviction with a fine and/or a sentence of up to two years imprisonment if he is found to have unlawfully evicted a tenant.
Therefore, it is crucial that you follow these three steps when regaining possession of a residential property.
- Serve Notice
You will need to check the terms of the tenancy agreement as different types of tenancies require different service so you must ensure you serve the correct notice on your tenant.
Assured Shorthold Tenancies are quite common amongst private landlords. If you fall into this category, you must serve a section 8 or a section 21 notice.
If the notice expires and the premises have not been vacated, you must not simply re-enter the property and change the locks. You must continue with the next step of issuing proceedings.
Unfortunately, a lot of landlords choose to run the risk of drafting their own notices to save costs and end up serving incorrect notices which causes further delays. Therefore, it is sensible to seek legal advice before the notice is served on the tenant.
- Issuing proceedings
There are 17 grounds for possession on which a landlord may rely. They set out what circumstances should exist to allow a landlord to legally start possession proceedings of their rental property, let under an Assured Tenancy or Assured Shorthold Tenancy. Grounds 1-8 are mandatory grounds in other words the Court must give possession to a landlord if they are met and grounds 9-17 are down to the discretion of the Court. The landlord must serve notice seeking possession of the property on the tenant before starting Court proceedings.
- Recover possession after judgment
In circumstances where the tenant continues to refuse to vacate the property after judgment, you can apply for a warrant or writ of enforcement from the Court and a bailiff will then be appointed to carry out the eviction.
If you require any advice on regaining possession of a property, contact our Dispute Resolution department on 0121 233 6912