Table of contents:
- 1 Introduction to Evictions for Fixed-term AST
- 2 Valid Grounds for a Possession Order
- 3 The landlord has received a possession order by the court
- 4 Where to go for help
Introduction to Evictions for Fixed-term AST
If you rent from a private landlord, the contract you likely use is Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST). Under it’s terms, landlords have a reasonable right to reclaim their property. This can only happen when the owner goes through a strict procedure and abides the legal details.
Every eviction process needs to start with a notification to the tenant. Depending on the circumstances of the tenancy, this notification can differ. For fixed-term tenancies, the landlord has to serve you with a “notice seeking possession”. The fixed-term protects the tenant from random evictions.
The landlord can still use a section 21, which allows them to evict the tenant without any reason. However, the date on the notice to quit must be no sooner than the date on which the fixed term expires.
To evict a tenant before the fixed-term expires, the landlord has to provide grounds which to support their claim. Valid grounds mostly relate to the tenant disregarding parts of their responsibilities. Rent arrears, excessive damage and anti-social behaviour are the most commonly referred to grounds.
The “notice seeking possession” is a heads up that the landlord will take actions to evict you. If you receive one, make sure to get in contact with them immediately. If possible, try to resolve the issues without triggering any legal mechanism. This will save you both time, stress and potentially money.
After they serve you with a notice, your landlord can start court action to evict you. They hold that right until 12 months pass from serving you notice. If court action is not started within this time the landlord has to serve a new notice seeking possession.
However, by the time it expires, the landlord will be able to use a section 21 notice. Then they will need to give any respectable grounds for your eviction. The tenancy will also transform into a periodic tenancy, unless otherwise stated in the tenancy agreement.
Valid Grounds for a Possession Order
The fixed-term protects the tenancy to some degree. Landlords can’t just evict their tenant for no reason. To validate the eviction, they need to give at least one good reason to evict and back it up with some evidence. If approved, the landlord will obtain a possession order. He or she can use it and summon the bailiffs to handle the eviction on spot.
Some grounds will be considered by the court and tenants will have a chance to disprove them. However, there are a few grounds that lead to an immediate eviction, if proven.
Repairs or development
The landlord needs to carry out extensive repairs to the property. The believe it is not safe for you to remain in the property whilst the work is in progress. Or, the landlord wants to develop the property further and can’t provide basic living conditions. They have the right to do so if there is suitable alternative accommodation available for you. The landlord needs to serve a section 21 notice to quit and give the tenant at least two months of time.
You have fallen behind with the rent. Or, you have made no effort to pay even when the notice for termination of the tenancy was served. If you have rent arrears of at least 8 weeks or 2 months, when the landlord gives you notice and at the date of the court hearing. The judgement will be given without a court hearing. The court will approve the eviction and grand the landlord a possession order. Rent arrears is the most common reason for eviction. If the legal procedure is correct, the landlord has little to do. The landlord needs to provide you with notice and two weeks of time before court procedures begin.
If your landlord’s mortgage is repossessing the property. If the mortgage holder experiences payment arrears from the landlord, they can claim the property to cover for their loss. Repossessed properties often get a refreshment before they enter the market again. This usually requires the tenants to move out. Depending on the circumstances, the lender might become your new landlord. Binding tenancies force new owners into landlords when they gain possession to the property. The landlord needs to provide you with notice and two weeks of time before court procedures begin.
Late rental payments
Your landlord can issue an eviction notice if you are consistently late paying the rent. You may not be behind with the rent, but being regularly late is not good either. The landlord needs to provide you with notice and two weeks of time before court procedures begin.
Breach of contract
You have broken one or more of the terms in the tenancy agreement, even though you pay the rent on time. This can refer to many things. Some landlords have clause which prevents having guests overnight – this also includes lovers. If you have someone staying over often enough, it might bother your landlord. This person is not paying them rent, but uses their property, so can try to evict you both altogether.
Other popular misconducts are having pets and smoking inside. The landlord needs to provide you with notice and two weeks of time before court procedures begin.
The property has fallen into poor condition because of you or someone living with you. You have a responsibility to always monitor the condition of the rental. If any problems appear you must warn your landlord as soon as possible. They need to carry out the repairs, but unless you report them, this is not possible. You’re also expected to handle daily maintenance and light fixes. Small problems that are not treated in time, can grow tremendously later on. If you allow the condition of the property to deteriorate the landlord can get you evicted. The landlord needs to provide you with notice and two weeks of time before court procedures begin.
Your behaviour has upset the neighbours or tenants in the building. Perhaps you play loud music or use noise-generating equipment at the wrong hours of the day. There are building regulations for keeping peace at noon, late night and on Sundays. Repeatedly breaking the noise restrictions can get you evicted.
If you have roommates you have to respect their privacy. If you use their belongings without permission, you can get in trouble with the landlord. If you’re continue to pester your roommates, you might get evicted.
An eviction notice can be served if you use the property for immoral or illegal purposes. For example this is drug manufacturing and distributing, illegal gambling or even online frauds.
The landlord can serve you a notice of seeking possession and start court proceedings immediately.
The furniture has been damaged or poorly maintained by you or someone living with you. Wine on the carpet or cigarette burns are of the most common damages that landlords face. A small burn or stain can render the upholstery or carpet irreparable. If you’ve damaged the property too much during your stay, the landlord might decide to evict you. Keep in mind he can also claim funds from your tenancy deposit to cover for the damages and needed repairs. The landlord needs to provide you with notice and two weeks of time before court procedures begin.
The tenancy was granted because you were employed by the landlord and are no longer employed by them. Many workers are relocated by their employers to fulfil a specific job. If that job is over, you will be expected to hand back the property. You need to fulfill all tenant responsibilities. The landlord needs to serve a section 21 notice to quit and give the tenant at least two months of time.
You obtained the property from the landlord by lying or presenting false statements. A fabricated credit check or fake references can sometimes make a tenant look reliable. Landlords, who can prove their tenants have lied, will immediately receive a possession order by the court. The landlord needs to provide you with notice and two weeks of time before court procedures begin.
Of course, these are only the grounds for mandatory eviction. Unless the landlord makes a mistake or overlooks a legal detail, these grounds will get you evicted. There is little that a tenant can do, after the landlord presents strong evidence against you.
To the discretion of the court, the landlord can also use in free form any other grounds against you. The court will consider those in their final judgement. Sometimes small issues can be a deciding factor. Make sure you report any issue from the landlord’s side. This might slow if not mitigate their grounds for eviction.
The landlord has received a possession order by the court
The property owner has managed to secure a possession order by the court. From now on, you’re considered a trespasser into the property. However, the landlord can never enter and physically remove you.
To enforce their right of ownership, landlords have to summon the bailiffs. Owners can use the so called “warrant of execution”. It means they have a guarantee to get aid with enforcement of their rights. In this case, the bailiffs are going to apply the landlord’s right to evict you and reclaim the property.
This process will take some time. Depending on the workload at the local council, it might go for another two months before you’re finally removed from the property.
If you go expect to be physically evicted, you need to arrange your accommodation and the collection of your belongings from the rental.
Where to go for help
For more information when your landlord’s mortgage lender is repossessing the property or to speak to an advisor go to the Shelter website:
This article is provided as a guide. The Tenants’ Voice is NOT a legal advice specialist site and our content authors are NOT housing law specialists.
The Tenants’ Voice advises that tenants act courteously and reasonably in all communications and dealings with regard to a tenancy but if you suspect you are experiencing an infringement of your rights that you seek advice and support from a regulated professional. The Tenants’ Voice recommends Shelter https://www.shelter.org.uk/ 0808 800 4444
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