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Can I use text messages to get my tenant out?

housesHere is a question from Terry (not his real name) who is a landlord

I have a tenant that promised to pay 6 months upfront but has only paid the first two months.

I have issued a section 21 after finding out all references they supplied were false and the last place they rented they paid nothing and caused damaged to the property.

Over the last 4 and a half months I have had daily text messages promising payment and threats to stop telling people they owe money (which is not true).

Can I use these messages as a claim for harassment to get them out asap?

The short answer is no.  Harassment by tenants is not a mandatory ground for possession available to landlords.

The first thought that springs to mind is why did you let this tenant in at all?  The whole point of doing referencing is to check up on prospective tenants BEFORE you give them the keys and start their tenancy.

Once they are in, it is a bit late.  It will take months to get them out again.

What you should do ASAP is serve a section 8 notice based on rent arrears and then, once the notices have expired, issue proceedings for possession.

Whether you base your claim on the rent arrears ground or section 21 will depend on the circumstances of your case and in particular, when the fixed term of the tenancy ends, but its a good idea to serve both anyway.

If you are concerned about the cost of eviction proceedings, note that my Landlord Law site has a ‘do it yourself’ eviction kit which gives you all you need to know.  Click here to find out more.

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Important note. If you are reading an old post, remember that the law may have changed since it was written.

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About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer and specialises in creating products and services which help landlords and letting agents learn and understand landlord & tenant law. For example, she runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 14th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google

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Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.

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