Can I evict my tenant? A guide for rental property owners
Zoe Davies | Trainee Solicitor
If you are a landlord wondering what your rights are during this time, we can help.
Current Possession Ban
The Coronavirus Act 2020, suspended possession proceeding from 27 March 2020 until 25 June 2020. The Government recently announced an extension to the ban until 23 August 2020.
This means, if a landlord applied for possession before 27 March 2020, the case was put on hold, regardless of what stage it was at and no new possession claims would be processed. The Government Guidance is also to not issue proceedings or serve notices without a “very good reason”.
So what is a “very good reason”?
It has not been made clear what a “very good reason” is.
It can be presumed that if a tenant is in rent arrears, the Court is unlikely to accept this as “a very good reason” as the Government has actively promoted that landlords and tenants should agree, if the need arises, to defer or reduce rental payments and furthermore landlords can obtain a mortgage holidays during this time.
Anti-Social behaviour has continually been an issue throughout lockdown and some have flaunted lockdown rules. Depending on the behaviour, landlords may be able to commence possession proceedings on the grounds that their tenants have committed anti-social behaviour and/or have flaunted lockdown rules, provided the Court accepts these grounds as “very good reasons” for doing so.
Similarly, if landlords have already served a notice and it is about to expire, they may believe they have a very good reason to issue proceedings, but it is likely that the Courts will stay the proceedings once issued.
Ultimately, it seems the Court will deal with repossession claims on a case by case basis.
What if I want to evict my tenant?
Before you can begin possession proceedings, you must serve the relevant notice, giving the tenant a chance to vacate of their own accord.
If your tenant is in rental arrears or has exhibited Anti-Social behaviour, you can serve a Section 8 Notice. Alternatively, if you have complied completely with the How to Rent Guide, you will be able to serve a 21 Notice on your tenant.
The notice period is three months to vacate under the temporary legislation on possession proceedings. Once you have served your notice and the time period has elapsed, you can issue proceedings in the Court, although it is not advised to do this until the ban has been lifted, as your claim will not be progressed by the Court.
If you would like us to prepare a notice; have a notice that is about to expire and need help issuing proceedings or need any further advice on where you stand under the current rules, please contact our Landlord & Tenant specialists here for further assistance.