More and more I am convinced that if at all possible landlords should use section 21 and the accelerated procedure to evict their tenants.
If you actually want them to go that is. I know some landlords are quite happy for tenants to stay if they just pay the rent.
However most times, when a landlord comes to me, they want the tenant OUT. Whether they pay the rent or not!
Problems with rent arrears possession claims
Although I have run many rent arears evictions and most of them have worked out fine, there are potential problems with them:
- the tenant might put in a defence and counterclaim claiming that you failed to comply with your repairing obligations – even if the defence is a complete lie, it could still slow things up
- the tenant can challenge the rent arrears figure – perhaps by saying that he has paid part of it (when you know for a fact that he hasn’t)
- or you may find that the arrears are not as much as you thought because you didn’t increase the rent properly – in which case the tenants might have been perfectly entitled to pay £500 per month rather than the £750 you asked them to pay in that letter
- then of course the tenant can always defeat the claim completely by paying the rent!
However these issues don’t arise with a properly prepared section 21 claim.
The advantages of using section 21
- the tenant cannot de-rail your claim hy counterclaiming for disrepair, as this not a valid defence (to the section 21 claim)
- neither can quibbles about the rent have any effect – the basis of the claim is that the notice was properly served and has expired – rent has nothing to do with it
- so can be used even if your tenant’s rent is fully paid up
If your tenant wants to be rehoused by the local authority, this is also the best procedure to use from the tenants point of view as the LA cannot say it is their fault (even if it is) – unless you tell them so. (Generally its best NOT to tell them, as you want the tenants to be re-housed and move out).
The problems with section 21
As most people who work in this sector know though, using section 21 is great when it works but can be a nightmare when it goes wrong. So why does it go wrong usually? The most common reasons are:
- errors on the section 21 notice – for example if the dates are wrong and there is no saving clause the Judge will usually chuck the claim out
- the claim form being signed by the landlords agent rather than the landlord himself, and
- problems with protection of the tenancy deposit – if your tenant can show that the deposit has not been protected properly AND/OR the prescribed information has not been served – again you will lose your case.
So how can you make sure that all your notices and paperwork are problem free?
One way is by using my new re-vamped accelerated possession proceedings do it yourself kit (I’m going to have to think of a snappier name).
I have had a kit for this for years which has been used by hundreds of landlords, who have all (so far as I am aware) managed to get their possession orders through, after following the instructions.
I have recently re-done the kit and the new version is now online. So Landlord Law members can now
- create a watertight section 21 notice using my document generator system (and see the online help on service)
- get guidance on eviction proceedings generally using my Which Possession Proceedings guide, and then
- draft up and bring the claim for possession using the kit. This includes guidance on filling in the forms, and also help and guidance on what you need to do later
- any problems, you can get one to one help via the discussion areas at the foot of the kit pages (or you can pay for telephone help if you want it)
- if your tenant fails to move out, there is also a section on using the bailiffs
You can get to use all of this for £96 for six months or £180 pa, which I think is a pretty good deal. If you want to find out more >> click here.