Here is a question to the blog clinic from Ross who is a landlord:
I am a landlord and have found myself in a very awkward situation. I let my property to a family on a 12 month lease, only a month into the tenancy I started receiving complaints from a neighbour and soon the police and the council were involved.
The problem has escalated into full blown feud and the council are putting me under enormous pressure to evict my tenants,
My predicament is that the tenancy has several months to run and the tenants have said they will not leave without a fight (perhaps literally) unless I pay for their moving costs.
What are the council’s powers regarding evicting private tenants and what are the implications if I do nothing at all?
The Council can do nothing to you, not officially anyway. As a landlord you cannot be held personally liable for the acts of your tenants.
If the tenancy has some ten months to run, it would not be easy for you to evict unless your tenants fell into arrears of rent (which presumably is not the case).
A claim for possession under one of the discretionary ‘bad tenant’ grounds could prove long winded and expensive if they defend the cases and you may not actually be able to get possession – for example if the Judge exercises his discretion to allow them to stay.
You could point out to the Council that if this were a Council property and you were the aggrieved neighbour, you would not be able to force the Council to evict – and there have been many cases where Councils have failed to evict in these circumstances.
You could also say that the tenants have agreed to move if their moving costs are paid and suggest the Council and/or the neighbours pay for this.
Finally – this case is another illustration of why it is not really in landlords interests to give longer fixed terms.