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Tenant won't pay rent and won't leave

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Posts: 174
Joined: 13 Jun 2011, 11:23


I need some advice. I have a tenant for a Buy to Let flat of mine who refuses to pay the agreed contracted rent. I served him 1 month's notice as per the signed tenancy agreement and he refuses to leave. Can you please let me know what I can do next? I'm fairly new to renting and have no experience of this.

Many thanks,
Posts: 534
Joined: 20 Sep 2007, 16:19

aargh. has he changed the locks? is he genuinely having financial difficulties or just being a chancer? Does he have a job and therefore leave the flat each day?
Posts: 1791
Joined: 28 Mar 2012, 09:30

Have a look at the .gov website: https://www.gov.uk/evicting-tenants/overview

You need to follow strict procedures to evict a tenant, otherwise the notice will not be valid.

Also have a look at the Shelter advice guide for private tenancies: https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_ ... te_renting and eviction: https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/eviction
Posts: 85
Joined: 23 Nov 2011, 14:28

National Landlords Association might also help
Blah Blah
Posts: 3221
Joined: 11 Nov 2014, 13:44

After rent arrears reach a minimum of eight weeks, you can serve a notice to seek possession. This will involve going to court where a magistrate will decide to either grant a possession order for eviction, grant a suspended possession order (common for social landlords where arrears have good reason, like benefits delays etc), or decline the possession order.

With private property, you are highly likely to be granted a possession order for rent arrears, providing you follow the correct process for doing so. Once you have that order granted, you can instruct bailiffs to evict.

It is worth throughout this process, trying to still reach the tenant and see what the problem is. It is also worth speaking to neighbours to see if the tenant has been seen or not. Has your property been abandoned for example? Or has your tenant any issues with the property, or some personal change of circumstance, such as loss of job or benefits? If they are not repsonding to you, then you have little choice but to evict.

Some useful links;


http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/ ... our-tenant
Posts: 3143
Joined: 12 Dec 2007, 00:21

There is, as others have said, a strict procedure prior to eviction. If your tenant is 'vulnerable' and therefore eligible for social housing, they will need to demonstrate that the correct legal route has been followed by yourself.
Sally Eva
Posts: 1276
Joined: 20 Nov 2009, 07:29

It might be worth pointing out to the tenants that the council will not rehouse anyone who is evicted owing rent which they could have paid. That is called intentional homelessness.

If you have given them an assured shorthold tenancy there is a simpler procedure using a Section 21 notice. You will still need to be careful and involve the court. They have rights to remain until a court says they must leave and a bailiff comes to enforce the court's view.

If you go via a section 21 you must have protected the deposit and the property must be in good repair. They can get legal aid to contest the process. To get the missing rent you will need to make a separate court application for a money order. If they do not have any money this may not be worthwhile.

Do not evict them yourself, change the locks, threaten them, cut off the utilities or do anything not ordered by a court.
Posts: 4669
Joined: 30 Sep 2010, 21:12

The mean response is that buy to let has driven demand replacing the first time buyer as the main factor driving house prices forcing up rents and making property affordable for many workers in the SE.

The nice answer is that I had plenty of experience when I dabbled a few years ago (and now well out of it) and can send you the relevant forms in word format if you PM me. Lots of small landlord chat rooms so you are not the only one! Get proof of posting and keep it polite but formal. My biggest headache was a lady with a custody battle over her daughter's baby, who refused to leave, probable mental health problems, illegally subletting to Chinese student lodgers, not paying rent, with child social services and housing involved, refusing to leave and hence making herself homeless. And it went to court. And she never paid the CCJ. After my first comment you may well say it serves me right.
Posts: 2475
Joined: 21 Dec 2014, 11:21

Get advice. Do it properly - every detail. Otherwise you can invalidate your claim for possession.

Be warned - this could go on for a long time.

When does the tenenacy contract end?

You could try and get them out by fact of end of tenancy, rather than eviction for non-payment.
Posts: 349
Joined: 11 Jun 2008, 10:44

It's slightly worrying that you took on a significant investment and responsibility without having any understanding of UK property and tenancy laws.
Posts: 3544
Joined: 28 Apr 2015, 12:25

Posts: 4669
Joined: 30 Sep 2010, 21:12

Been there done that. The common opinion is that you can't go wrong with property. In the late 80s it was the only subject at after work gatherings of those in their mid 20s . A couple of years later then it was handing the keys back to the loan organisation due to negative equity and massive interest rates.

Fast forward almost 30 years with low interest rates, population increase/rental demand and easier to get buy-to-let loans then it doesn't surprise me that there is a 'can't go wrong' general opinion - certainly I hear enough of it.

Generally it doesn't but sometimes it can. As said happy to be of help and don't use solicitors as most if it is easy to do yourself - if a bit frustrating at time. I even know a chap who works for bailiffs (by chance, not for suspect reasons).

Although I thought loss of tax allowances and increase in stamp duty was supposed to take the heat out of the market.

PS when I got into it with a mate, totally on a whim, we were looking at 40% gross returns. It was another world of cheap terraces, dodgy inner city areas and students. That market went years ago. Ah, the stories of the amateur buy to let landlord in the 80s and 90s.
Posts: 917
Joined: 14 May 2013, 14:18

As mentioned above, as long as you have an AST in place, and protected the deposit correctly, it will be a straight-forward process to evict.If you didn't, I cannot offer advice.
Posts: 4669
Joined: 30 Sep 2010, 21:12

As long as you have received rent you have a contract in place. Better to have an AST of course, but loosely the same process. You can serve notice under separate parts of the legislation.
Posts: 174
Joined: 13 Jun 2011, 11:23


Many thanks for all your suggestions. Yes we do have an AST.
Will first try and sort it out by more discussions if that doesn't work
we will try the section 21 notice.

Thanks again

Posts: 4669
Joined: 30 Sep 2010, 21:12

Wonder how it is going?

I sneakily watched Nightmare Tenants Slum Landlords on telly the other day. Tenants that refused to move, and ones that damaged the fixtures and fittings. Huh, they didn't leave a skip full of junk, you were lucky!

There's also an article in the Gruaniad about someone getting out of buy to let after 15 years. There was an amusing story about the cat that was not allowed out. I acted as an informal agents for a mate letting out his maisonette once. First tenants had a cat that was not allowed out.

When I came to re let you could hardly breath. A nice couple took it who I assumed had no sense of smell.

I let them off the first month's rent as they were happy to do some decorating. A couple of months letter they presented me with a bill for new carpets. Why I said? Because how can we live here when it stinks of cat pee. Nice one I thought as they had played the game well (take a difficult to let place at an attractive price and then sort it out).

The other thing about the Grauniad article is missing out income tax on rent and what looks like a massive underestimate of Capital Gains Tax.

Most tenants were fine, and occasionally brilliant.
Posts: 360
Joined: 21 Jul 2013, 21:49

I used to own a flat in Lewisham - the flat below mine was let to a social housing tenant family who were the tenants from hell. Moves were made to evict them for many breaches of the tenancy agreement (pets in house, late rent, very anti-social behaviour and drugs among minor issues as well as major arrears).

Night before eviction they left of their own accord - having turned on all the taps full blast, and put plugs in the sink before walking out the door. :-(
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