Private landlords often have problems evicting tenants because when they come to issue the paperwork, they realise they have not followed the legal process correctly.
Lawyers can pick apart landlord applications because many buy to let investors do not always understand the law.
Two crucial laws affect serving a Section 21 notice to quit on a tenant:
• The deposit must be protected in a government authorised scheme
• Any house of multiple occupation (HMO) must have a licence, if required – and in some cases where councils have article 4 directions, the property must have planning permission before applying for a licence
Property lawyers Painsmith have some tips for landlords issuing a Section 21 notice -
• Check that the deposit is registered and the information required by law is served on the tenant before issuing a section 21 notice
• If the deposit is unprotected, give the money back to the tenant minus any agreed deductions – and get the tenant to sign the list of deductions
• Check the tenancy agreement for any clause describing how to serve the notice – and follow the instructions
• If the notice is served under a break clause, follow the instructions
• Don’t cut deadlines too fine - a longer notice is less work than reserving the notice if the dates are wrong
• Keep collecting the rent
• Understand a section 21 notice does not let a landlord evict a tenant without a possession order from a court
“Notices need serving in line with the terms of a tenancy agreement; such as notices being served by first class post are often deemed served two working days later,” says the Painsmith advice.
“Another major hurdle is it is easy to get the date wrong, where the fixed term runs from different dates to the rent payment date. The courts have approved a saving provision where the notice can ask for possession after the end of the tenancy, which will two months after the date of service. The believed end date is included in a letter serviced with the notice.”
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