How Do You Enforce Tenant Evictions?
You must follow strict procedures if you want your private residential tenants to leave your property.
You may be guilty of harassing or illegally evicting them if you don’t follow the correct procedures. Different procedures apply for different types of tenancy.
If your tenant has a private assured shorthold tenancy you need to serve a Section 21 notice if you want the property back after a fixed term end or serve a Section 8 notice if they’ve broken the terms of the tenancy.
You cannot use a Section 21 notice in certain circumstances, including it being less than 4 months since the tenancy started, or the fixed term has not ended, unless there’s a clause in the contract which allows you to do so, the property is categorised as a house in multiple occupation and does not have a HMO licence from the council, the tenancy started after April 2007 and you have not put the tenants’ deposit in a deposit protection scheme, you have not repaid any unlawful fees or deposits that you charged the tenant under the guidance for landlords on the Tenant Fees Act 2019
You also can’t use a Section 21 notice if you have not given the tenants copies of; the property’s Energy Performance Certificate, the government’s ‘How to rent’ guide, and a current gas safety certificate for the property, if gas is installed.
Pre COVID-19 a Section 21 notice must have given your tenants at least 2 months’ notice to leave but because of COVID-19 you must give a longer period. If you gave your tenant notice between 26 March 2020 and 28 August 2020, the notice period must have been at least 3 months. If you gave your tenant notice on or after 29 August 2020, the notice period must be at least 6 months.
If your tenants do not leave by the specified date, you can apply for an accelerated possession order.
If you use a Section 8 notice you must state which terms of the tenancy they’ve broken.
Again, you need to give notice. If you gave your tenant notice before 26 March 2020, you will have needed to give them up to 2 months to leave, depending on the reason for eviction. Due to COVID-19, if you gave notice between 26 March 2020 and 28 August 2020, the notice period must have been at least 3 months, If you gave notice on or after 29 August 2020, the notice period must be at least 6 months.
While the courts will be able to process cases and eviction notices can be issued, bailiffs will not be able to enforce them until 22 February 2021 except in extreme cases such as anti-social behaviour.
There is a petition to extend the current deadline.