Frequently Asked Questions


Only court appointed bailiffs may carry out a legal eviction. Due process must be followed (Section 21 notice/ Court Application/ Possession Order/ Bailiffs Warrant).

Failure to comply with this process may result in an unlimited fine or upto 2 years in prison.

The landlord may also be liable to pay substantial compensation if the process is not followed.

It is vital that landlords know what to do when they need to evict a tenant so that they are on the right side of the law. Failure to follow procedure properly could land you with a hefty fine, or even worse, time in prison.

The advice contained in these pages will give you the information you need to help you successfully, and legally, evict a tenant and regain possession of your premises. Please note that this advice applies only to tenants living in England & Wales and who have an assured or an assured shorthold tenancy agreement.

What do I need to do?

There are many different grounds you can use to evict a tenant from your property, but the two most commonly used grounds are rent arrears and the accelerated possession procedure.

What is the accelerated procedure?

The accelerated possession procedure can be used by a landlord at the end of the fixed term of the tenancy (which may be ended early if a break clause has been used) or at any time during a periodic tenancy, provided that the tenants have occupied the property for at least six months since the start of the first tenancy agreement.

The procedure involves serving a notice under section 21 of the Housing Act (a section 21 notice), which will stipulate a certain amount of time within which the tenants must vacate the property. If the tenants fail to move out after you have served this notice, you will have to apply to the court for an order to evict the tenants.

What is the difference between a fixed term and a periodic tenancy?

A fixed term tenancy is created for a specified length of time, for example, 12 months. If the tenants remain in the property after the fixed term has ended, but do not enter into a new fixed term agreement, then their tenancy will automatically become periodic.

A periodic tenancy rolls on a specific period, such as month to month or quarter to quarter. This arrangement may have been specified at the start of the tenancy or may have naturally arisen by the expiry of a fixed term tenancy.

What is the procedure for rent arrears?

If your tenants are in arrears of rent, but you are able to use the accelerated possession procedure, then we generally recommend that you use this procedure, rather than using the ground of rent arrears. This way, you are able to get the tenants out as quick as possible and get new tenants in who will start paying rent.

However, please note that when you use the accelerated possession procedure, the court will not order the tenants to pay any rent arrears to you. You must instead apply to the county court for a court order requiring them to pay the outstanding rent to you.

Read more about using the Section 8 accelerated possession procedure on the desktop lawyer website.

Do not attempt to evict the tenant yourself. Doing so is a criminal offence and you could be fined and/or sent to prison and ordered to pay for rehousing your tenant. You must apply through the courts for them to do this on your behalf.

The necessay legal forms and advice on completing them are available from Her Majasty's court service website.

We will first make sure that it is our responsibility to do the repair. If it is, and we have enough information about the repair,an order will be placed with a contractor to carry out the work. Wherever possible, the order will be placed immediately.

We, or the contractors working for us will:

  • Help you identify the repair needed
  • Tell you the maximum time we will take to complete the repair
  • Offer you an appointment for all urgent and routine repairs at a time that is convenient to you
  • Write to you by post and confirm details of your repair,as well as any appointment that we made for you
  • Take care to protect your furnishings while doing repairs
  • Tidy up mess and remove rubbish within two working days of finishing the repair
  • Inspect ten per cent of all completed repairs to check the quality of work
  • Monitor our performance and quality of service and publish performance figures

No. You can only insure your own contents on your landlord insurance policy. Your tenants must take out their own insurance should they wish to protect their contents.

The reason for this goes back to one of the principal rules of insurance, which is that the entity that is being insured must be owned or directly effect the person who is taking out the insurance contract.

If this rule is not strictly adhered to, the insurance contract can develop a moral hazard and end up more like speculation/gambling.

Most mortgagees insist as a term of the mortgage that you inform them of your intention to let the property.

It is quite likely that they will agree to this if your lender is one that accepts 'buy-to-let' mortgages, it may well be on different terms and at a different interest rate than your current deal and they may charge an arrangement fee.

It is recommended that you take advice from your mortgage provider or your independent financial advisor.

The inventory is vital and probably your greatest piece of protection. Should you need to make a claim from the bond it is vital that the property is inspected before the tenancy begins & that both the landlord (or their agent) and the tenant have signed it.

It is this document that will form the benchmark should a dispute arise.

Ideally a similar exit survey should be conducted and if possible should also be signed by the tenant. This will leave only the costs of the remedial action to be decided & agreed.

This will depend upon the kind of repair. As a rule of thumb, 28 days is often considered reasonable for repairs that are not urgent, and for urgent repairs it's often one to two days.

The vast majority of property these days are let on what is known as 'Assured Shorthold Tenancies'.

Though there are other types of tenancy or license we will concentrate on shortholds.

Normally a shorthold tenancy will run for six or 12 months. This gives you a fixed period for which you will have the right to occupy the property. Equally you will have the duty to pay the rent for that property.
At the end of the fixed period there are choices:

  1. You can leave the property and claim back your deposit
  2. The landlord may offer you another fixed term period
  3. The landlord may allow the tenancy to roll over.

If the landlord chooses to allow the tenancy to 'roll over' it can only be brought to an end by either party giving sufficient notice. Normally this would be two months for the landlord or one month for the tenant.

By law, a landlord has to provide a rent book to somebody who pays rent weekly, unless the rent includes a substantial payment for meals. The rent book must contain:

  • The name and address of the landlord and the landlord's agent if there is one
  • The amount of rent to be paid
  • Description of the property the rent is for.

The inventory can be very useful in the event of a dispute. Even in unfurnished accommodation it is worth insisting on an inventory as this will clearly state the condition of the property including decoration, floor coverings and curtains.

State of repair and cleanliness are the two most likely reasons why landlords withhold all or part of the deposit. An inventory signed and agreed by landlord and tenant gives you hard evidence of what you accepted at the beginning of the tenancy.

On receipt of the inventory, don't just accept it. Examine the property carefully and note any faults, dirt or marks. Only sign it when the items you have noticed have been added.

The general rule is that you should never stop paying the rent to try and force your landlord to do repairs. If you do, your landlord may go to court to make you leave your home because you are behind with the rent.

When a repair is needed you should tell the landlord as soon as possible. It's always a good idea to put your request in writing and to keep a copy of the letter. You should give the landlord a 'reasonable' period of time within which to carry out the repair.

Where the landlord does not inform the tenant of the whereabouts of the deposit, the tenant can apply to the local courts. The courts can then order the landlord to either repay the deposit or get it protected.

If the courts wishes are not carried out within 14 days the landlord will be ordered to repay three times the amount of the deposit to the tenant within 10 days.

Futhermore where the deposit has not been protected the landlord can not evict the tenant using a Section 21. Therefore, by not securing the deposit you will not be able to get your house back and face a large fine.

Assuming you are happy for your present tenant to remain you have two choices. You can either offer another fixed term contract and both parties, assuming they agree, will be bound by those terms for that period.

Alternatively you can let the present tenancy roll on (Periodic tenancy)

By issuing a new shorthold the landlord gains the security of another fixed term but may incure additional administrative costs & will not be able to regain possession of the property until the end of the fixed period. In addition some agents may charge the tenant an additional fee. This can annoy tenants who may be less willing to renew next time.

By creating a periodic tenancy (allowing the tenancy to roll on) reduces costs and can make it easier for landlords to gain possession should they wish to.

You have a legal right to be given the name and address by the landlord's agent or the person you pay rent to. If you put this request in writing to your landlord's representative, they have an obligation to provide you with this information within 21 days, or they risk prosecution.

Alternatively, you can find out the name and address of your landlord for a small fee, through the Land Registry.

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