If you are looking to evict your tenant, the section 21 procedure is the best way to go. But it will not be available to all landlords or at all times. Here are some tips for you to help you avoid problems:
1. You need to have an assured shorthold tenancy (AST)
Section 21 notices can ONLY be used for assured shorthold tenancies. So if you serve it where there is an unregulated tenancy such as a company let, it will be of no effect
2. You must have served a properly drafted section 21 notice
The biggest reason for possession claims being rejected by the court is an incorrectly drafted section 21 notice.
3. You must be able prove service
What will you do if your tenant says he has never seen it before? (As they often do).
Make sure you can prove to the court that the notice was delivered. Delivery by hand with an independent witness is the best method if you have a difficult tenant.
If this is not possible, consider using a professional process server.
4. The fixed term of the tenancy must have ended
Notwithstanding what some people have claimed, if you start your claim before your fixed term ends, the Judge will reject your claim.
If the fixed term has not ended, your tenant is perfectly entitled to be in the property – so you will not have any basis for a claim. You can’t base a claim on the grounds that you think the tenant may not leave in a few weeks time!
There is a discussion about this here.
5. The notice period must have expired
You cannot issue proceedings before the notice has expired.
Be careful if you have used a saving clause – if you got the notice expiry date wrong, the saving clause should save you – but it may mean that your notice expiry date is later than you think.
6. You need to draft your claim for possession properly
Claims are normally brought using the special (so called) accelerated procedure. Use this if you can.
However sometimes this is not possible – for example if you have no tenancy agreement (as the accelerated procedure is paper based).
This is not fatal for your claim, you can use the standard procedure, but there will then be a court hearing.
Landlords wanting to bring their own claims will find guidance on both procedures in my Do it Yourself Eviction Kit>.