What is the Correct Process for Eviction?
The UK eviction process for tenants and landlords can be a difficult area to understand. That’s why we have decided to give you a step-by-step guide to the process. This guide will provide information for both Section 8 and Section 21 evictions.
What is a Section 8 eviction?
A Section 8 eviction is a notice that makes tenants aware that they are required to leave the property. They will be forced to leave for displaying unsatisfactory behaviour or breaking a clause in the tenant’s agreement. Once finalised, the tenant will be required to leave the property and return possession to the landlord.
With this form of eviction, the notice can be handed over at any point in the tenancy. The notice must give the tenants 2 weeks to leave the property.
Section 8 Grounds for eviction
There are many reasons why a tenant could receive a Section 8 notice. These are the following common grounds for eviction:
- Ignoring or making late payments on rent
- Damaging the property
- Subletting the whole property
- Subletting without the consent of the landlord
- Displaying antisocial behaviour on the property
- A clause in the contract is broken
Section 8 eviction process
When a tenant falls into arrears by 8 weeks or 2 months, the Section 8 eviction process can begin.
The landlord will need to post or physically hand over a Section 8 notice and then fill out a Form 3, so they can regain the property. Both the notice and form need to be filled out correctly to continue the process.
Form 3 includes the reason why the landlord wishes to end the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) and the date the notice expires.
The landlord should:
- Keep a copy themselves
- Use a witness if handing over a physical copy
- Have proof of postage and delivery if using a postal service
The landlord will need to ask the tenant to acknowledge receiving the notice. Not having the tenant acknowledge the notice damages the court case that will occur later.
A landlord has to give at least 14 days of notice before they evict you. If they have not left the property, court proceedings will occur.
If the court grants a possession order, bailiffs and police may be called in to guarantee that the tenant leaves the premises and that there is no breach of the peace.
How can a Section 8 be made invalid?
As a landlord, there are a few things you need to consider before being able to evict. Then as a tenant, you should also be aware of these requirements.
To make the Section 8 notice valid, the landlord must be able to cite the grounds for the removal. While doing this, the landlord cannot harass the tenant or ignore proper legal procedures.
Before evicting, the landlord must provide:
- The most up-to-date “How to rent” government document
The “How to rent” document which is available on the GOV.UK website. It explains whether or not the tenant has the right to rent and other pieces of information in the format of a guide.
- Energy performance certificate (EPC)
The tenant must have received a current copy of the property’s EPC. The EPC shows the energy efficiency of the building on a scale of A-G. With ‘A’ being an excellent efficiency rating and ‘G’ being a poor energy rating.
- Gas safety certificate
The law states that a copy of the Landlord Gas Safety Record should be presented to your current tenants within 28 days of a gas safety check. New tenants need this to be given to them at the start of their tenancy.
- Deposit protection scheme
All Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) and periodic tenancies need to have their deposit protected. Legally the landlord has 30 days to confirm that the tenant’s deposit is in a protection scheme.
If the landlord is looking to evict the tenant, ignoring these requirements will severely damage their case.
What is a Section 21 eviction order?
A Section 21 or “no-fault” eviction requires no breach of the tenancy agreement. Effectively it is a way of removing a tenant who has performed no “faults”. Landlords often use a ‘no-fault’ eviction to regain possession of their property with very little notice for the current resident.
Section 21 eviction process
After the tenant has been living on the property for 6 months, the notice can be served.
The notice now has to be left up for 2 months. During this period the landlord cannot enter the property unless it is allowed by the tenant.
If the tenants have not left the property after the notice period, the landlord most likely will take them to court. In total, the process can cost the landlord £500 or more.
If you are the tenant, we recommend you continue to pay your rent as any arrears may be brought up in court.
Arrears can alternatively be dealt with through a repayment plan. Repayment plans are often beneficial to both parties as it stops any potential court fees the process may require.
With an N5 and N119 form, the landlord may reclaim possession of their property. This only needs to occur when the tenant has refused to vacate the property.
In some circumstances, the tenant can apply to suspend the warrant. If successful, this will prevent the county bailiffs from evicting the tenant.
If the landlord gets the order for possession, then they can change the locks. If any possessions are left behind, they must be looked after for a reasonable amount of time. Typically the period is believed to be around 21 days. If the landlord refuses to hand back belongings, the tenant should be able to get a court injunction. A court injunction will allow them access to their belongings or claim damages for damaged or lost items.
What makes a Section 21 notice invalid?
Your section 21 notice must be on Form 6A.
Your notice is invalid if:
- The tenant was not given enough notice
- The landlord waits too long to apply to the court
- The tenant has received the notice during the first 4 months of their original tenancy
- The tenant received it after making a written complaint to your landlord about the living conditions of the property
Have you been handed an invalid notice?
If you have received a Section 8 or Section 21 notice, we can help. At HMS, we can help stop the eviction process or give you places to find advice when going through eviction. If you need help, you can fill out our form for expiring mortgages or call us on 0800 298 0571.