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What are the rules around evictions of Tenants?

When a property owner (Landlord) wants a tenant to leave their property through a legal process, it is known as Eviction. If a property owner (Landlord) wants to take the possession of their property back from the tenant after the completion of the fixed term tenancy agreement or during a tenancy (having no fixed term), section 21 notice has been issued by the landlord to the tenant. In case, the tenant continues to live in the property even after the leaving date specified in the notice, the landlord has the right to apply to court. The landlord uses Section 21 notice as they don’t have to give any reason to the tenant for their decision. Therefore, it is also known as no-fault eviction.

Rules around Eviction of Tenants

In case, tenant broke the terms of the tenancy agreement, not paying rent or annoying the landlord by damaging the property or causing a nuisance, landlord hold the right to issue section 8 eviction notice to the tenant.

In this article we cover:

Procedures for different types of tenancy

If you want your tenant to leave your property, you must ensure that a strict procedure should be followed unless it could end up in you being guilty of harassment or illegal eviction of the tenant. By following the correct procedure legally, you can end up this process easily.

There are different types of tenancy for which various procedures have been followed depending upon the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement.

  1. Assured Shorthold tenancies

    - Shorthold tenancies are of 2 types: Periodic or fixed term.
    1. Periodic tenancies

      - In periodic tenancies, there is no fixed date of leaving the property, and it runs week by week or month by month.
    2. Fixed-term tenancies

      - Fixed term tenancies are for a fixed amount of time such as 3 months, 6 months, 1 year etc.
  2. Assured and regulated tenancies

    - If the tenant began their tenancy before 27 February 1997, it might be termed as an assured or regulated tenancy. In such cases, tenants have increased protection, and you need to follow different rules for the eviction of a tenant from your property.
  3. Excluded tenancies or licenses

    - In case the tenant is living with you, you don’t have to apply to the court and need to give a “Reasonable notice” to the tenant to vacate the property. If your tenant were paying you rent on a weekly basis, you could provide them with a one week notice.

Also See: What is Tenant in Common Agreement?

Section 21 Notice of seeking possession

Section 21 is a legal notice given by the landlord to the tenant to vacate the property in the following cases –

  1. If there is a written contract between the landlord and the tenant and it is completing after the end of the fixed term tenancy.
  2. When the landlord wants the tenant to vacate the property during the tenancy having no fixed end date, also known as a periodic tenancy.

New rules around Eviction of Tenants in the wake of Coronavirus

On 28 August 2020, new rules have been added for eviction of tenants to provide relief to the private and social tenants whose health or finances have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

As per the Coronavirus act 2020, Eviction period has been extended in the first week of lockdown from 2 to 3 months before any decision of initiation of the legal process were taken by the landlord.

Tenants who were financially impacted due to Coronavirus lockdown were also encouraged by the UK government to resolve their rental issues with the landlord by agreeing to the rent reductions or rent “holidays” or repayment plans.

Also See: Green homes grant – How landlords can benefit?

Changes to Rental eviction ban

Rental Eviction Ban has been extended 3 times for those tenants who were unable to pay rentals to their landlords in the wake of Coronavirus. As per the recent extension from 29 August 2020, landlords must now provide tenant eviction notice of at least 6 months before applying through the court for almost all the cases including eviction about section-21 and rent arrears under 6 months, except the cases related to domestic abuse and anti-social behaviour.

Several changes have been done to the rental eviction ban and are as follows –

  1. Anti-social behaviour –(Now 4 weeks notice)
  2. False statement (Now 2 to 4 weeks notice)
  3. Domestic Abuse (Now 2 to 4 weeks notice)
  4. Accumulated rent arrears for over 6 months (Now 4 weeks notice)
  5. Breach of immigration rules right to rent (Now 3 months notice)
  6. The minimum notice period has been extended from 3 months to 6 months. Therefore, a landlord cannot force a tenant to leave the property until 31 march 2021 in almost all the cases except special cases like domestic abuse and anti-social behaviour.
  7. From 27 March, a ban was imposed by the UK government on the eviction hearings in both England and Wales. It has been extended to 20 September in the wake of Coronavirus. The notice period given by the landlords to the tenants are as follows –
    1. Section 21 – 2 months (Normally)
    2. In case you give notice to your tenant between 26 March 2020 to 28 August 2020 – At least 3 month’s notice period should be provided to the tenant.
    3. In case you give notice to your Tenant on or after 29 August 2020 – At least 6 months notice period should be provided to the tenant.
    4. Whereas, in wales

    5. If you give notice to your tenant on or after 24 July 2020 – At least 6 months notice period should be provided to the tenant.
  8. In case of contract periodic tenancy in England, you need to provide a longer notice period to your tenant. If a tenant has ended a fixed-term tenancy, but a new clause of periodic tenancy has been added to the agreement, the notice period must be the same as the rental period. If a tenant is paying rent every 3 months, a notice of 3 months should be provided to the tenant to vacate the property. In wales, in case of a periodic tenancy, a landlord must allow their tenant to stay for the notice period and for any additional time to which the final rent payment is covered.

    Whereas, in the Welsh government if the notice period has been issued on or after 24 July, the landlord must provide at least 6 month’s notice period to the tenant for their eviction from the property except cases in relation to anti-social behaviour.

    Whereas, the Scottish Government has also proposed for extension of notice period to 6 months until March 2021.

    Whereas, the Government of Northern Ireland has also introduced new rules, according to which landlords need to provide at least 12 weeks of notice period to the tenant for eviction before seeking the permission of possession through the court.

Also See: Types of Tenancy Agreements for Tenants

What protections are there for renters?

The Landlord can take the following steps to evict the tenant from the property –

  1. Issuing of Section 21 Notice or Section 8 notice mentioning the final date you want the tenant to leave.
  2. If a tenant stays beyond the date mentioned in the notice, a landlord can get a possession order from the court.
  3. If the tenant still not leave the property on time, a landlord can ask for a warrant of possession from the court (Eviction by bailiffs)

A tenant can only be evicted by the landlord if the correct procedures have been followed, and if not, a tenant could challenge the order of the landlord.

Eviction hearings have already been started from 20 September, and UK government already said that court would prioritise some of the serious cases like domestic abuse, anti-social behaviour, rent not received by the landlord even after one year, other crimes etc.

Landlords will need to provide information to the courts concerning how tenants have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Still, if the information is not provided, the judge can adjourn the proceedings.

As per the statement from housing Secretary, any area who is in a local lockdown and imposed with restrictions on home gatherings, an eviction cannot be imposed by the bailiffs.

Also See: Deposit Protection Schemes and Landlords For Tenants

What protections are there for Landlords?

Landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial problems because of coronavirus pandemic can apply for a mortgage payment holiday. Landlords can still issue notices concerning possessions and evictions during the ban by giving extended notice periods to the tenant.

In England, resuming of UK hearings is an important step taken by the UK government to protect the rights of the landlords.

In case you want more information or specialist advice on eviction of tenants, kindly call us on 03330886686, or you can also e-mail us at info@dnsaccountants.co.uk

Also See: Financial Responsibilities and Liabilities for Landlords renting their Property

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