Here is a question to the blog clinic from Maria who’s partner is an Australian landlord
My partner lives in Australia and owns a property in Manchester. He agreed to let my daughter to live there after she went to the UK to go to Uni. She has been living there for £80 per month, but no agreement was written or signed.
The verbal agreement was she could stay there cheap till she got on her feet. Bear in mind he wanted to sell it 3 years ago and I talked him into letting her live there.
We now want to buy here in Australia and he needs to sell it. What rights does he have?
The best way to get a tenant to move out is to serve them with a notice under s21 of the Housing Act 1988. This is the case for an Australian landlord as well for as English one.
The process is relatively straightforward and as it is not based on any tenant fault, it is less antagonistic than, say, bringing proceedings based on tenant bad behaviour. Indeed you do not have to give any reason other than the fact that you require the property back.
This notice gives the tenant a minimum of two months to vacate the property. If they fail to do so, then the landlord has the right to evict the tenant through the courts. Provided the paperwork is correct then the tenant will not have any defence to the claim.
This sounds easy and in many ways it is, but there are things that can go wrong. For example
- If the tenant has paid a deposit and this has not been protected under a government scheme and/or ‘prescribed information’ served on the tenant regarding the deposit protection, any s21 notice will be invalid
- Although (at present) there is no prescribed form of section 21, the notice needs to be drafted properly and must include all the elements required by the act.
After 1 October 2015 there will be further requirements. So you may want to make sure that the notice gets served before then.
The other problem is that you are in Australia.
So far as the notice is concerned, you can do this stage yourself but you need to be able to prove that the notice was served. Obviously you can’t go and serve it yourself with a witness, so the best way to do this is to use a recorded delivery service or process servers.
So far as possession proceedings are concerned, the courts will not normally correspond with a litigant who is ‘out of the jurisdiction’ (ie living outside of England and Wales) and so you will need to use a law firm.
There are many firms that do this work, but you need to be careful as the vast majority of solicitors firms are not particularly experienced in eviction work. If they charge you on a ‘time costing’ basis they may actually be charging you for looking up how to do it!
We generally recommend Landlord Action who specialise in this work and who provide a national service.
However, if you are reading this and are NOT living in Australia but somewhere in England / Wales, note that we have a DIY eviction guide on my Landlord Law site.