Evicting tenants from a property – important changes
Assured shorthold tenancies have been around now for nearly 30 years. They are the standard form of letting for a residential property. A landlord who requires a tenant to leave must follow a prescribed procedure laid down by Section 21 Housing Act 1988 in order to make the process lawful.
In the first instance, the landlord must provide the tenant with a possession notice requiring them to leave and then make an application to the court for a possession order if they are still in occupation at the end of the notice period.
Currently, a landlord has to provide copies of the tenancy agreement, Section 21 Notice and proof that this has been sent to the tenant when they submit the application to the court.
If a deposit has been taken from the tenant, the landlord must confirm that it has been protected in an authorised scheme, the date it was lodged, the deposit reference number and provide a copy of the tenancy deposit certificate. They also have to confirm whether and when certain prescribed information was given to the tenant.
Where the property is a house in multiple occupation which requires a license from the local housing authority, the landlord must confirm that the property has a valid license and the name of the local housing authority and the issue date.
Certain changes to assured shorthold tenancies and the Section 21 eviction procedure were introduced just over two years ago through the Deregulation Act 2015, notably the requirement for a landlord to provide a tenant with certain documentation, including an energy performance certificate and an explanatory guide on how to rent, thus adding to the administrative burden when issuing a tenancy. Significantly, it also imposed restrictions on a landlord’s ability to serve a Section 21 Notice in the event of non-compliance.
The court application form has recently been revised to incorporate these changes. These revisions include:-
- Confirmation that a valid EPC has been given to the tenant and the date on which it was provided.
- Confirmation that a gas safety certificate has been supplied to the tenant (if applicable) and the date on which it was provided.
- Confirmation that the “How to Rent” Guide has been provided to the tenant, when it was provided and how it was provided.
- Providing certain information where the landlord has been served with a repair notice under the Housing Act 2004.
- A new document checklist at the end of the form that has to be completed to confirm that all relevant documents have been attached to the application form. Note: Copies of the EPC, GSC and HTRG do not have to be attached.
Landlords will need to ensure that they have undertaken the necessary steps and can document this. This will mean that tenancies are legally compliant and they are in a position to proceed if they need to evict a tenant.
Failure to get this right will result in the court throwing out the application and the landlord wasting the fee of £355 payable to the court when submitting the application plus any legal costs they have incurred.
If you are a residential landlord and need advice to ensure you meet all the legal requirements, then contact the residential landlord and tenant team at GA Solicitors by calling 01752 203500 or email me via Philip.email@example.com