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Reasons why not to illegally evict your tenant Tue, 10 Jun 2014 18:20

Many of those taking advantage of Dream House Buyer's quick and fuss-free cash property buyer service previously asked themselves "How can I sell my property with a tenant in?" You might have asked yourself the same following some troublesome tenants, but one thing you definitely shouldn't do is illegally evict a tenant - which is a criminal offence.


Illegal eviction means evicting a tenant without following the proper legal process. Examples include changing the locks when the tenant is out, physically throwing the tenant out, threatening the tenant with consequences if they don't leave and barring the tenant from access to certain parts of their rented home.


The correct procedure for evicting a tenant depends on the exact type of tenancy agreement in place, as well as your reasons for wanting to evict. However, it generally involves giving your tenant notice and getting a court order, although the rules may differ if you or a member of your family lives with the tenant. Legally speaking, you aren't able to physically remove a tenant yourself - that can only be done by a court bailiff.


As a landlord, the first thing that you will probably need to do is give your tenant notice that you want them to leave. This may be called a section 21 notice, a notice of seeking possession or a notice to quit. You should be able to issue the tenant with a two months' section 21 notice, two weeks' or two months' notice of seeking possession or a minimum of four weeks' notice to quit. This is again dependent on the type of agreement, the type of notice the tenant is entitled to and why you are evicting.


Once the tenant's notice period is over, an application will need to be made to the court for a possession order. Even if the court says that the tenant must leave on a certain day, if they fail to do so, you will still need to return to court to request a bailiff's warrant. If the tenant remains in the home after the notice period ends, you may be able to reclaim from them your court costs in relation to the possession order and bailiff's warrant.


Forcing a tenant to leave at any stage of the above process prior to the arrival of the bailiffs constitutes illegal eviction. However, it's important to remember that in a small number of circumstances, you might not require a court order to evict even those tenants who don't live with you. Examples include if the tenant moved in as a squatter, even if have since been permitted to stay, as well as if the property is a hostel or other temporary accommodation.


Keep yourself abreast of the rules relating to eviction, and you can have far fewer headaches as  a landlord. Alternatively, if you are still wondering "Could I sell my property with a tenant in?", contact Dream House Buyer for more information. 

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