A Landlord’s Guide to Evicting Family Members

No landlord wants the stress of having to evict a tenant – and especially if that tenant happens to be a family member. For therein lies trouble – or, at least, potential trouble such as emotional blackmail from siblings or a parent, or even the fear of being ex-communicated from a certain branch of the family. 

However, it’s not always easy to turn down a desperate family plea. So, if you do succumb and agree that a particular family member can stay and, several months down the line, you still haven’t received a penny in rent, then eviction may be your only route back to financial sanity. 

How Do I Evict a Family Member From My Rental Property?

Often, with a family member, a Tenancy Agreement isn’t deemed necessary. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not having a Tenancy Agreement means you have to prove to a judge in court that it was a paying rental arrangement. That means having a witness to a verbal agreement or being able to show regular rent payments in your bank account. Right now, it’s not possible to do this due to COVID-19 restrictions banning evictions. 

Serve a Section 21 Notice 

If, on the other hand, you do have a tenancy agreement, then you can serve a Section 21 notice at the end of the fixed period (usually six months). You’ll usually have to give two months’ notice of this. 

Serve a Section 8 Notice

If your tenant has breached the tenancy agreement then it’s possible to serve a Section 8 notice. You’ll need to give a good reason, such as complaints from the neighbours about loud music or not paying rent. 

 After You’ve Served Notice

Expect some annoyed family members once they learn you’re evicting your niece/nephew/wayward uncle etc. If your tenant refuses to move out then the next step is to go to court. If you win the family member can have as much as 28 days in which to pack their belongings and leave. If he or she still doesn’t move then you’ll need to obtain a warrant for possession and get bailiffs involved. 

Evicting Lodgers – Paying and Freeloading

If your family member has been staying in your own home rent-free and you want them to leave then you have to give them a month’s notice. Make this in writing in case you have to show the court at a later date. 

If your lodger has been paying for the roof over their head then, again, give them a reasonable amount of notice to find somewhere else to live. Again, do this in writing. If they leave a pile of belongings then legally you can sell them after a set amount of time (three months, usually). The alternative is to leave them with another family member they’re in touch with. 

A different type of lodger is one who lives in an excluded part of your home ie a granny flat or garden studio. These lodgers can only be evicted if they have come to the end of their fixed rental term and they’re given the appropriate amount of notice. If they refuse then the next step is a possession order from the court. 

 Get in the Professionals

It’s often a good idea to get in professional evictors – especially if things have really come to a head within the family. Emotions can run high, with angry thoughts voiced that in hindsight probably shouldn’t have been. And that’s why getting someone else to do it – and professionally to boot – is often the best action to take. Well, if you want to keep in touch with the family in future, that is.

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