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Landlords - Don’t get in a ‘spin’ over eviction...

By Adam Davis

 The importance of a valid section 21 notice

Earlier this year it was reported that a landlord suffered a mental breakdown caused by the stress of evicting his 'celebrity' tenant. The troublesome tenant was the singer Pete Burns, best known for his number one hit single, 'You spin me around’. Mr Burns was evicted from his rented London flat for rent arrears of approximately £30,000 in addition to damage to the property and numerous complaints from neighbours. The final bill after legal costs was reported to be over £34,000, but whether the landlord will ever receive this money is perhaps unlikely, not least because Mr Burns has declared himself bankrupt.

The eviction was carried out by Landlord Action, who outlined the distress caused to the Landlord: “We carried out the eviction this morning, with the bailiffs from the court. This was a complete nightmare for our landlord, on two occasions he instructed us to serve eviction notices, he put the case on hold to give the tenants extra time and his good will was taken advantage of, thus leaving him with rent arrears of over £34k…he has suffered a breakdown because of the stress...”

Recovering possession of property can indeed be a very tricky proposition as there are a number of potential pitfalls involved.  If you are a landlord wishing to evict a tenant with an assured shorthold tenancy (AST), which is the normal residential tenancy granted by private landlords, numerous statutory requirements have to be complied with; a failure to do so can be fatal to obtaining possession.

A tenant of residential premises cannot lawfully be evicted without a court possession order and, if necessary, a bailiff’s warrant for possession. Normally, service of a “section 21 notice” is a pre-requisite to obtaining possession of an assured shorthold tenancy…

Here are a few tips if you are considering doing so…

  • A landlord cannot evict the tenant under the section 21 procedure during the fixed term of the tenancy or in any event the first six months of the tenancy.
  • A landlord must protect any deposit taken in a government-authorised scheme within a set time, and provide the tenant with all the required information about how that particular scheme works.
  • The name(s) of the tenant(s) and the details of the property must be correct on the notice.
  • The notice must be in writing and give the tenant at least two months from the date of service of the notice to vacate the property.  If you have a fixed term tenancy, the notice cannot give a date prior to the end of the fixed term.

So if your next tenant happens to be an 80s pop star, you won’t have to Turn Around and Count to Ten...

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