How to Evict a Tenant for Nonpayment of Rent
Although it may seem unfair, the simple answer is; very, very carefully.
As tempting as it may be to claim back what is rightfully yours, tenants have rights that must be taken extremely seriously. Worst case scenario you could end up facing landlord harassment charges with a maximum penalty of £10,000. It is a criminal offence to harass a tenant and harassment can be construed as anything from regular visits and threatening behaviour to deliberately cutting off utilities. Therefore, whatever the situation, tread carefully. Here are a few hints and tips when you are looking for information on how to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent
Prevention is Better than Cure
Non payment of rent is quite often a landlord’s worst nightmare. Sadly in many cases monies may never be retrieved from the tenant. With this in mind always carry out detailed due diligence, thoroughly vet all perspective tenants and remember that the devils in the details; make sure you have as iron clad tenancy agreement as possible and a fully comprehensive landlords insurance policy.
A good policy will include owner’s liability as standard with buildings cover. It may also be worth speaking to your insurer about opting for additional cover such as rent arrears due under the tenancy agreement and legal expenses associated with property disputes such as possession and eviction.
Minimise the Damage
Damage limitation measures, in the event of a non payer include:
- Effective monitoring of payments, so that you know immediately if payment is late and can act accordingly.
Act fast; deceive action can nip a possible situation in the bud.
- Get everything in writing and if possible signed; a paper trail can be very useful in the event of legal proceedings.
- If the property is mortgaged then it may be worth speaking with your buy to let mortgage provider and arranging a payment holiday or reduced payments until the situation is resolved.
Minimise the Loss
Act quickly. Often an unexpected change in your tenant’s circumstances can be to blame and a simple discussion and negotiated arrangement for repaying back dated rent can be agreed. However it’s important to be realistic and in some cases you could be dealing with a professional non-payer. You can be sure that they will use the law to their best advantage and very often the best you can hope for is to reclaim your property in a reasonable state and for a quick re-let.
In the Event of Eviction
Your basic rights under a standard tenancy agreement includes; the right to take legal action to evict in instances of non-payment. You can also:
- Repossess the property when the tenancy ends
- Take back the property if it gets damaged
- Access the property by giving 24 hours’ notice
If rent is over 14 days late and you have reason to suspect that the situation is not going to be resolved quickly and amicably, then you can seek to end the tenancy. Legal advice in this matter is strongly recommended and notice will need to be served.
Be warned that legal costs can be extensive, so adequate landlords insurance for legal costs can prove very useful. Particularly considering that the tenant may repay the back rent at any time, leaving the landlord without a case and large legal costs.
The process of eviction can go something like this:
- Notice served
- Landlord makes an application to court for an eviction order
- Application is usually successful if rent is still outstanding by the date of the court hearing
- The tenant is evicted by the bailiffs.
Remember that tenants are protected Under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, so get insured, act quickly and as hard as it might be, try to keep calm, patient and level headed at all times.
Tags: buy to let, landlord advice