You may be asking the question, how do I evict a tenant?
The word Evict seems like such a dirty word, because whilst you’re watching daytime TV that’s how it’s portrayed.
But it isn’t always the case that you’re asking tenants to leave on bad terms, or for anything they’ve done wrong. You may just want or need to gain possession of the property due to personal circumstances or to benefit from a booming property sales market.
What Notice Do I Serve To Evict A Tenant?
It’s relatively simple, to evict a tenant you serve a:
- Section 21 notice if you’d like the property back after their fixed term ends, a reasonable notice to quit must be adhered to, usually two months must be allowed for the tenants to find somewhere else to live and move out.
It’s important to ensure your tenants aren’t still in a fixed-term agreement, if they are, you’re legally bound to wait until the agreement has ended to initiate this notice.
- Section 8 notice if they have broken the terms of the tenancy. This could be anything from sub-letting to 2+ months of rent arrears. Depending on the grounds you state you’re serving the notice on; will dictate the length of time you must allow them to vacate the property. From my experience, when dealing with 2+ months of rent arrears, the expectation is for the tenant to vacate within two weeks.
How Do I Serve It To Evict A Tenant?
For a Section 21 notice, you’ll fill out form 6a, get it signed by a witness, then serve it to the tenant.
For a Section 8 notice, you’ll fill out form 3 stating the relevant and correct grounds it’s being served on, to then serve it to evict a tenant.
Serving the notice essentially means making sure it is received by the tenant, and you’ll need to prove that the tenant received your notice forms for your case to be taken seriously if it goes to court.
Serving to evict a tenant, your options are to:
Serve it yourself. Personal delivery is a way to hand the notice to the tenant, enclosed in an envelope, addressed to the tenant and the property. It is deemed the notice to be enforced from the day it was served. Encouraged for landlords seeking a swift progression of the eviction.
A witness will need to confirm you delivered it, entailing them to tag along with you to witness it being served.
Leave it at the address. Similar to the above, the difference is you’ll mail it like normal post, such as a letterbox. In this case, the deemed date of service should be three days after it is delivered to the property.
And as before, the same applies where you provide a witness to evidence this, such as photos of the delivery at the property.
Send via recorded delivery. Posting it via recorded delivery is an option, but not a suggested one. As if it isn’t received by the recipient, it’ll be returned undelivered, essentially meaning it’s not been served at all.
But, if delivery has been accepted, the notice is to be perceived to be served on that day.
Send via First class post. You can use the regular Royal Mail postal service to serve the notice. As per the nature and timescale of delivery you should allow two working days to class the notice as served.
Send Via Email. It’ll be classed the day of serving the notice as the same day, as long as it was sent before 4.30 pm on a working day. If not, it’ll be classed as being served on the next working day.
Probably the most favorable option, as it’s one of the most secure options, with almost guaranteed reliability that it will be acknowledged by the tenant.
Instruct a process server. There are professional services where you can instruct someone to serve legal notices. You’ll also have proof of service that can be used in court if needed.
This option will be the most expensive out of the lot, but you’ll have peace of mind that you’re covered on all bases so that the case won’t be dismissed for little issues.
The information I’ve provided above to evict a tenant is a base point to start from, downloading a copy of the notices online will give you a good indication of how to fill it out.
The sections are straightforward, but you’ve always got Citizens Advice to give you a hand on how to evict a tenant if there are any topics you’re stuck on or even a little search on the internet.
When looking to evict a tenant, avoid making the situation unnecessarily hostile by allowing the courtesy to tell your tenants they should expect a notice to leave before you actually serve it, and be as communicative and forthcoming as possible. This could help you with the overall transition of having your property vacated and keys returned.
If you’d like to get started on serving a notice, and would like a property expert to help do this for you, feel free to get in touch with me to discuss requirements and even options to move forward into a managed tenancy.