It is not uncommon for property to be used as an investment. To gain an income from that investment, it is often let to a tenant. As a private landlord you need to protect yourself.
For starters do you have a Tenancy Agreement? This is often in the form of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) and usually for a fixed term. When that fixed term expires the terms of the AST remain in place but becomes a periodic tenancy. This then effects how the tenancy can be brought to an end.
One of the most important elements is whether the tenant’s deposit has been protected. Since 6 April 2007, all deposits taken by landlords and letting agents for AST’s must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. If the landlord fails to comply, an application can be made to the court and possession can be barred. Furthermore the landlord is likely to be requested to return the deposit or place it in an appropriate scheme, if the tenancy is continuing and be liable for a penalty of up to three times the amount of the deposit.
The next difficulty comes when you require possession of the property. This could be for a variety of reasons such as, but not limited to, you requiring it for personal occupation, the tenant’s failure to pay rent or breach of another term of the AST, or even if the tenant has been convicted of a criminal offence.
To obtain possession the first stage is to issue either a section 8 or section 21 notice. Dependant on the grounds, the tenant will be given between two weeks and two months to vacate, failing which possession proceedings can be issued.
There are two types of proceedings. The quickest and the simplest route is the Accelerated Procedure. This is in essence a paper exercise and can only be used if you do not wish to seek any other orders, such as judgment for rent arrears. The other option is the Standard Procedure which can include additional claims for rent arrears, damage to property etc. This route requires a Court hearing.
Once a Possession Order has been ordered, the tenants will typically be given 14 or 28 days to leave the property. The Judge can give them up to 42 days if leaving sooner would cause exceptional hardship. If the tenants do not leave at this point, bailiffs can be instructed to enforce the Possession Order.
Whether you are a landlord or a tenant in any of the situations described above Watson Legal can help. We offer fixed fees for this type of work. Please call 01279 466910 to arrange a free 30 minute consultation.