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Avoiding 'Nightmare Tenants' - Advice for Landlords

Every landlord lives in fear of their tenants becoming ‘nightmare tenants’. Your property is usually the most expensive thing you own so it’s essential to ensure that you have the right people living in your property. Unfortunately, even the most experienced landlords can find themselves involved in a long and costly process of reclaiming their property should things go wrong.

It is always essential to ensure that you have complied with the law as it can be very difficult to evict a tenant if you have not followed the correct procedures. This is commonplace with those who have become ‘accidental landlords’, such as those who have inherited a property and decided to rent it out.

There are two ways in which to evict a tenant from your property. This can be done by serving a section 8 notice or a section 21 notice. A section 8 notice should be served when a tenant is in breach of contract (e.g. the landlord has grounds for possession). The most common ground for eviction is rent arrears. As long as the landlord has a legitimate ground for possession, they can serve the notice at any point during a tenancy.

A section 21, also known as a ‘Notice of Possession’, should be served to end an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement so the landlord can regain possession on the last day of the fixed term of the tenancy or afterwards during a periodic tenancy. Unlike when serving a section 8, a landlord does not need any reason for serving the notice to regain possession of the property, other than they simply wants the tenant to vacate.

It is important to note that in order to be able to serve a section 21 you must have registered your tenants deposit within 30 days or have refunded the deposit in full. Landlords in Wales must also have registered with Rent Smart Wales or they cannot rely on a section 21. Other penalties include fines and rent stopping orders.

Being evicted is a very serious matter and the Court will expect all the paperwork to have been completed and served correctly. It is not uncommon for a case to be thrown out because the landlord has misspelled a surname or address. The whole process then has to be repeated and this can be very timely and expensive for the landlord. Attention to detail is crucial which makes it advisable to use a legal professional.

Unscrupulous landlords can also often take advantage and illegally evict tenants who do not know their rights. It is essential to have an experienced person to guide you in the right direction if you are facing difficulties.

At J A Hughes we can help with any property issues you may have. One of our experienced staff members will be happy to help you through a problematic and stressful time.

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