Evicting Tenants With a Possession Order

It is possible to evict a tenant for repeated rent arrears in England and Wales by using a Possession Order. 

This can be achieved by filling out a few forms online, provided you have already complied with the necessary legal steps up to this point (see below). 

Is Eviction for Rent Arrears the Best Route?

Everyone can fall into rent arrears due to trying circumstances not of their control ie being made redundant or undergoing a divorce and having no help with the mortgage payments. 

Having a chat with a tenant who falls behind with their rent should be a landlord’s first port of call – especially if you have never had any problems with that tenant in the past. By discussing the late payment, you will find out whether it’s just a temporary issue and they should be able to get back on track in a few months’ time etc. 

Three Steps to Reclaiming Your Property 

The law states that you must do these three things, in this order, in order to evict a tenant: 

  • Serve notice for them to leave and wait for it to run its course 
  • Ask the court for a possession order 
  • Ask the court for a warrant possession 

You have up to five reasons to repossess a rental property because of late payments. These are: 

  • Section 21 Eviction Notice 
  • Section 8 Eviction Notice 
  • Ground 8 
  • Ground 10 
  • Ground 11 

Section 21 for Rent Arrears 

This is used when the two month’s notice to leave period has expired along with the fixed term of the tenancy. There is no need to prove a tenant has fallen behind with the rent because, under the Housing Act (1988) you are the landlord and wish to repossess your property.  

Section 8: Grounds for Rent Arrears 

You can use Section 8 to repossess a property when the fixed term hasn’t yet run out. This is where you need ‘grounds’ for eviction. There is a total of 17 reasons to choose from. Whichever reason you choose you must be able to prove that this is the case.

Ground 8 

Use this mandatory ground if the tenant is very behind with rent payments. That means two months in arrears for a monthly tenancy and three months for a quarterly or annual tenancy. If the landlord can prove this he or she will automatically be given possession of their property. 

Ground 10 

It’s up to the judge what to do if the rent is late, ie they can order the tenant to pay up via a money order, rather than have to leave the property. 

Ground 11 

Use this if a tenant regularly fails to pay their rent. Again, its discretionary, so up to the judge to decide if you get the property back. 

It’s possible to serve both a Section 21 and a Section 8 simultaneously. The former has a notice period of two months and the latter two weeks. 

If the notice period has ended and your tenants are still in situ, without having paid any back rent then it’s time to contact the court and apply for a possession order. 

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