Tenant Eviction
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Tenant Eviction

Pursuing non-payment of rent

If you have failed to extract the rent payment from your tenant (or guarantor) and there seems no hope of a negotiated settlement, then it is time to pursue matters y . further which probably means court action and/or eviction. Be advised that it is a criminal offence for a landlord to evict a tenant without a court order and you may wish to employ professional help at this stage.

The Law in Scotland regarding rent arrears

The law in Scotland regarding private sector tenancies is governed by The Housing (Scotland) Act 1988. Usually non-payment of rent for a period exceeding three months is sufficient grounds for a Sheriff Court to grant a repossession order whether the lease is an assured tenancy or a short assured tenancy. The court will usually also make an order allowing you to recoup the rent money owed.

Taking the first step

In order to start off the repossession process, you must formally give written notification to your tenant that you want them to leave. It must include:

Failure to serve this notice correctly may delay the repossession and it is wise to consult a professional to advise you or do this for you. Your sources for advice/

assistance are your solicitor, a letting agent or via a specialised landlord service (try Yellow Pages or the Internet but choose carefully, seeking recommendations).

Applying for court action

Once the notice has expired and if the tenant has not paid you the rent due or moved out of the property, you may apply for a court order for repossession of your property.

It is highly likely that you will be granted the order if you have followed correct procedure and the Sheriff may also make an award for your court costs to be paid by the `a tenant. After the court has awarded you the repossession order, you still do not have the right to evict the tenant yourself. Only Sheriff Officers can implement the repos­ session order.

Avoiding pitfalls

Make sure that you serve written notice correctly and that you follow all the correct procedures. If there are extenuating circumstances, like the property is in poor order, this may weaken your court claim. Also, if the rent arrears is because of a delay in a Housing Benefit claim, the Sheriff is unlikely to grant in your favour; you should have dealt with the Local Authority and the case should not have come to court.

The Law in England and Wales regarding rent arrears

The law in England and Wales regarding private sector tenancies is governed by The Housing Act 1988. If the tenant owes more than two months or eight weeks rent, then the Judge must award you a repossession order.

Taking the first step

In order to start off the repossession process, you must issue a Section 8 Housing Act 1988 notice. This gives the tenant 14 days to respond.

Failure to serve this notice correctly may delay the repossession and it is wise to consult a professional to advise you or do this for you. Your sources of advice/ assistance are your solicitor, a letting agent or via a specialised landlord service (try Yellow Pages or the Internet but choose carefully, seeking recommendations).

Applying for court action

Once the Section 8 notice has expired and if the tenant has not paid you the rent due or moved out of your property, you may apply for a hearing at a County Court where the judge must award a repossession order if the rent remains unpaid and in arrears of over two months or eight weeks at the time of the hearing. Exceptions to this will be if the property is in disrepair or if the rent arrears is because of a delay in a Housing Benefit claim in which case you should have dealt with the Local Authority and not have applied to the court.

Implementing the repossession order

Having won the repossession order in court, most tenants will vacate your property as instructed. However, if they do not, you must arrange for Court Bailiffs to remove your tenant.

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