Thursday, 28 July 2016

For When The Worst Happens – Possession Proceedings


Being a landlord today can be pretty precarious. While of course the number of landlords in the UK has risen in recent years, due to steep housing costs meaning that many under 30s still find it extremely difficult to apply for mortgages, the number of collective landlords in the UK is slightly below demand for property. As such- it is problematic in more than a few ways to keep a tenant around in the face of rent arrears, unacceptable behaviour or even damage to the property as direct result of occupation. However, getting your property back isn't easy. Thankfully, there are a number of solicitors in North Wales which are here to help and can ensure that you, as a landlord, don’t end up in hot water as result of doing what you think is right.

A landlord may recover possession of a tenancy using varying methods, outlined by the type of tenancy a problem tenant might possess. If your tenant has an assured, or assured shorthold tenancy (most tenants do, if they have entered a private sector tenancy after 28th of February 1997—though a good solicitor will be able to find out) then they are under the protection of the Housing Act 1988 which includes the statutory continuation of the tenancy, as well as provides limitations concerning the grounds and methods on which you can lawfully terminate and recover possession of a property.

Should a tenant continue to occupy the property beyond the fixed term, then their tenancy will not terminate. Your tenant will be legally entitled to live in the property as normal from month to month- with only the “assured” part of their tenancy missing.

Hypothetically, if your tenant is in arrears with rent and normally pays on the 1st of the month—as long as they continue to make the month’s rent on the 1st from then on, by making them leave you would be committing an offence that will lead to a penalty at best, with up to two years in prison at the very worst.

So how are you supposed to recover possession of your property from problem tenants? The Housing Act 1988 states that a landlord may terminate an assured tenancy by serving a notice under Section 8 of the Act.

This notice is known as a Section 8 Notice or a Notice Seeking Possession. It is recommended, before any landlord looks into serving tenants with such a notice, that they have a broad grasp of the law through the services of a specialist solicitor – as the Notice is less of a letter of intent, and must contain a variety of information for the tenant to be considered legitimate.

Furthermore, it might not be that easy. Should the tenancy have clauses in the agreement, it can put a real spanner in the works and scupper the start of the process of retaking possession of your property.

A good solicitor with a wealth of experience in property matters is worth their weight in gold when it comes to dealing with a very tricky situation.   

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