What if a tenant doesn’t leave? What can be done?


Landlords frequently express their dissatisfaction with unreliable tenants. Tenants claim to be moving out on Monday but are still there three weeks later. Or renters who refuse to vacate after receiving a section 21 notice. This may be quite problematic, especially if there are renters who have signed up and are ready to move in.

First and foremost, the tenant has the legal right to remain in the property until he is evicted by the courts. It is harassment and a criminal offence if a landlord enters and changes the locks.

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Many renters, of course, are honourable individuals who will not annoy their landlords by refusing to move on a pre-arranged date. It is, however, sometimes beyond their control.

The rehousing crisis in London

If the tenant, for example, wishes to be re-housed by the Local Authority, he will be encouraged to remain in the property until the landlord receives a possession order. In virtually all circumstances, the Local Authority will not re-house the tenant until this is completed, and in certain circumstances, the renter will not be re-housed until the bailiff arrives!

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If they leave before then, they will be considered ‘voluntarily homeless,’ and their entitlement to be re-housed will be lost. Obviously, they will stay put in those conditions, no matter how much it annoys their landlord.

My advice to landlords is to never put their confidence in their renters or to assume that they would leave on time and they will do the cleaning regularly and to plan appropriately with their rental property.

Consult your tenants

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See if you can find out what your renters’ plans are if they are talking. You can be pretty assured that they will be travelling if they have a fixed destination.

You should eviction notice procedures as quickly as feasible if they desire to be re-housed by the local authorities. By waiting, you are doing no one any favours. Your renters will be re-housed sooner if you can obtain a possession order quickly.

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If they refuse to speak to you, presume they will not move out and file possession papers as soon as possible and start the eviction process.

If you haven’t received a notification

If you want your renters to vacate and they have stated that they would, but you have not yet served them with a possession notice, you should do so as a precaution.

If they don’t go, you won’t have to waste any more time waiting for the notice period to end.

Don’t take on any more renters

When it comes to signing up new renters before the previous ones have left, you must be extremely cautious. Because there isn’t much you can do if the present renters refuse to go, and you’ll be accountable to your new renters for breach of contract. They can, for example, make you liable for the expense of interim housing until they are allowed to move in.

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Even though the Landlord Law leasing agreements include a clause that specifies the tenancy agreement is conditional on any present renters moving out on time, you don’t want the disgrace of letting your new tenants down.

Initiate possession procedures

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The ONLY lawful option to physically evict tenants from a property if they refuse to go free is to utilise County Court bailiffs (or sometimes High Court Sheriffs) operating under a court order for possession in England and Wales.

If you need your property back for whatever reason, or if your renters are not paying their rent, you must take legal action as quickly as possible to safeguard your rights.

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Tenants may be highly convincing when trying to persuade you to postpone. You, on the other hand, are not a housing charity. If the tenants do not depart by the stipulated date, start the procedures and inform them that the procedures will be withdrawn after they have left.

Last but not least

If your renters have said that they wish to leave AND have issued you with a notice to vacate but have later changed their minds, a section of the legislation may allow you to charge double rent.

The procedure for evicting a renter is as follows:

cleaning services

Before taking any further action, double-check that you’ve followed the right eviction method. This assures that you are functioning inside the law and avoids any legal ramifications in the road. When it comes to tenant evictions, the courts may be quite severe about following the rules, thus any procedural flaws might result in delays and fees.

The following are the first actions to take if your renters have an assured shorthold tenancy:

  • If you want to reclaim the property after the defined time has ended, file a section 21 notification. If your renters have breached the conditions of the rental agreement, you can also serve them with a section 8 notice.
  • The notice term for a Section 21 Notice is usually two months, however, the notice term for a Section 8 Notice varies depending on the basis on which you are seeking possession.
  • You can file regular possession proceedings in Court if your tenants do not depart by the appointed date and you wish to make a claim for rental arrears.
  • You can file expedited possession procedures if your renters refuse to leave and you are not alleging rental arrears. Which are often less expensive and faster, but are only accessible in cases where a Section 21 Notice has been issued.

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The Court will review your case and, if necessary, issue you a possession order

If your renters refuse to leave after receiving the order, you can seek a warrant of possession. This implies that bailiffs have the legal authority to evict your renters.

If your tenants have guaranteed, regulated, or excluded tenancy agreements, it may be more difficult to convince them to leave since they will be better protected from eviction.

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