What happens if a tenant doesn’t move out at the end of a tenancy?
This has become a worryingly pertinent question in recent years and local authorities are struggling to provide social housing to those in need. Some are even advising people on the social housing waiting list to stay in their rental property beyond the agreed end-date until they are evicted.
This is not ethical (in our view) and it causes more problems downstream for the landlord and also the new incoming tenant, who cannot move in; it breaks the fundamental agreement between landlord and tenant.
Many landlords cannot believe that tenants can stay in a property without instant repercussions. But you cannot manhandle the tenants out of the property or intimidate them and so you must abide by the law.
The legal process – in brief
A section 21 notice (legally required under the Housing Act 1988) has to be served on the tenant no less than two months before the end of the tenancy if you want them to leave.
If a tenant fails to hand the property back on the last day of the tenancy, you will need to go to court and request an order for possession, which will always be granted under shorthold legislation. You cannot evict the tenant or change the locks yourself.
As mentioned in the previous post on evictions, providing the correct legal notice has been served on the tenant, a Judge will give you possession of the property between 14 and 42 days after the date of the hearing.
The terms of the tenancy continue for this ‘additional’ period so the tenant remains responsible for the rent payments until they leave.
This is one of the 50 most asked questions in our book: Landlord Intelligence.