Beginning the process of evicting someone is the landlord and renter's worst nightmare. Deciding to evict your renter should always be a last resort, and it's not something you should do without thorough consideration.
If, however, after every other consideration, you decide to evict your renter, there are strict procedures that you should follow. And in our latest article, we're detailing the do's and don'ts of going through the renter eviction process.
But first… Covid-19
During coronavirus, government advice is to pause eviction proceedings where possible. The notice period has also been increased by a further three months, safeguarding renters from finding themselves without somewhere to live in the current climate. For the latest information on evictions during Covid-19, check out the official government website, which updates continuously.
Here are our eviction do's and don'ts
Do: communicate with your renter
Most disputes can be resolved with an open line of communication. Therefore, it's vital that you only go down the eviction route once all communication has been exhausted or you simply can't get a response out of the renter after several attempts.
Do: be understanding
It may be that your renter has fallen on harder times, especially in the current climate. Or, perhaps they have forgotten to pay the rent and need reminding. Whatever the issue that has led to you considering eviction, ensure that you understand the renter's circumstances. They probably don't want to be in the situation as much as you.
Do: think about the eviction process
If you're left with no option but to evict your renter, you'll need to decide on the approach that you're going to take. In England and Wales, there are two different ways to terminate a tenancy. These include:
Section 8 notice
A Section 8 notice comes into play if your renter has broken the terms of the tenancy. To provide a Section 8 notice, you will need to fill in a "Notice seeking possession of a property let on an assured tenancy or an assured agricultural occupancy' and give between two weeks' and two month's notice depending on the terms of the tenancy that have been broken.
A Section 21 notice sees you asking for the property back once the tenancy agreement between you and the renter has ended. You will need to provide the renter with at least two month's notice (pre-corona) to leave the property if you're issuing a Section 21.
Don't: be intrusive
Issuing an eviction notice is just the start of proceedings, and it doesn't give you the right to enter the property without notice or remove any of the renters' belongings. You still need to wait until they have officially vacated before you can re-enter without giving them at least 24 hours' notice.
Don't: forget your responsibilities
As the landlord, it's your responsibility to uphold your end of the tenancy agreement, even during the eviction process. Elements like maintenance issues are still your – or the property management company's – responsibility while a renter is in situ, and you need to carry on providing a service as per the terms of the lease.
Don't: turn off utilities or change the locks
You absolutely should not switch off the utilities in the property while someone else is living there, nor should you change the locks on the doors. Again, you have certain responsibilities bound by the lease, and these need to be met to ensure that you're doing everything by the book.
Do's and Don'ts of evictions
Hopefully, you will never find yourself in a situation where you need to evict a renter. And even if the scenario does arise, it should always be an absolute last resort. If, however, you have no option but to proceed with the eviction, ensure that you know all the procedures and act in an appropriate way that provides the smoothest conclusion possible for everyone involved.