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GiantPanda
29-03-2010, 04:34 AM
Hi Folks,
I've tried looking for a concrete answer to this question on here but can't find one, so sorry if I'm duplicating.

I've served a S21 on T [due to non payment of rent] and the date on the notice is 13 April. I have instructed a new agent to enter the property (after giving notice in writing to the tenant) and they have entered the property and taken pictures of its condition inside and out and they appear to still be living there, i.e. there are a lot of furnishings and household items still in the property.

Am I right in thinking that if the T fails to leave the property after the section 21 notice expires, I have to apply to the court for an order to evict them (form N5B)? If the answer is yes, I take it that means that under no circumstances should I attempt to evict the tenants myself without a court order, e.g., by changing the locks, as doing so is a criminal offence and I may be fined and/or sent to prison?

I’d also like to ask for advice on what I could be doing re marketing the property for the next tenant. Would there be no point in starting that until I know whether the T is leaving by the s21 expiry date or not?

Many thanks for your assistance

Ericthelobster
29-03-2010, 08:27 AM
Am I right in thinking that if the T fails to leave the property after the section 21 notice expires, I have to apply to the court for an order to evict them (form N5B)?Correct...

If the answer is yes, I take it that means that under no circumstances should I attempt to evict the tenants myself without a court order, e.g., by changing the locks, as doing so is a criminal offence and I may be fined and/or sent to prison?Yes, you've got it in a nutshell...

I’d also like to ask for advice on what I could be doing re marketing the property for the next tenant. Would there be no point in starting that until I know whether the T is leaving by the s21 expiry date or not?That's more of a personal decision than a legal thing... if you do go ahead, then there's a big risk that you won't be able to have new tenants move in when you think, and at best you'll have wasted a lot of time and energy in organising it. There's also a strong chance that the current tenant will be uncooperative regarding viewings, and why wouldn't they? (at worst they will prevent viewings, which they are absolutely allowed to do) and of course it is pretty unlikely that the property will be presented well; ie clean and tidy).

If you do decide to go ahead, whatever you do don't end up with a signed contract stating unequivocally that the incoming tenant will be moving in on X date, assuming that the property will be vacant then; because you will make yourself vulnerable to legal action from the now-homeless incoming tenant simply on the whim of your outgoing tenant deciding to stay put after all.

tom999
29-03-2010, 10:36 AM
I've served a S21 on T [due to non payment of rent] and the date on the notice is 13 April. I have instructed a new agent to enter the property (after giving notice in writing to the tenant) and they have entered the property and taken pictures of its condition inside and out and they appear to still be living there, i.e. there are a lot of furnishings and household items still in the property.If your AST made no provision for such an inspection, and the tenants are still in occupation and have not given their permission, then this form of entry and inspection may be considered harassment and in some cases illegal.

Mark1564
29-03-2010, 12:44 PM
Someone sent me a link on this site reference changing locks and evicting them, it was a news article of the landlord having to pay back all the rent and a fine and I think missed a jail sentance. Today I have just given back the deposit to my prospectice new tanants as I am in the process of evicting old ones as I understand it could take ages. Good luck with it all.

jeffrey
01-04-2010, 16:00 PM
I've served a S21 on T [due to non payment of rent]
No, you haven't. The non-payment of rent is irrelevant to a s.21 Notice. Did you mean a s.8 Notice?

Ericthelobster
02-04-2010, 04:57 AM
No, you haven't. The non-payment of rent is irrelevant to a s.21 Notice. Did you mean a s.8 Notice?

Why shouldn't he have served an S21 notice due to non-payment of rent? I've done exactly that myself in the past (in conjunction with a small claim for the rent arrears - can't honestly remember why I did it that way now, rather than using S8).

All I'm saying is the OP's motive for issuing the S21 shouldn't be confused with the legal process.

mind the gap
02-04-2010, 10:18 AM
Why shouldn't he have served an S21 notice due to non-payment of rent? I've done exactly that myself in the past (in conjunction with a small claim for the rent arrears - can't honestly remember why I did it that way now, rather than using S8).

All I'm saying is the OP's motive for issuing the S21 shouldn't be confused with the legal process.

Yes, that's how I read it - a s21 being his best chance of mandatory possession if the unpaid rent was less than two months' worth but T's excuses/avoidance/failure to pay on time was getting to the point where LL had had enough. Grounds 10 and 11 of s8 may apply, but have less 'teeth' than a s21.

GiantPanda
08-04-2010, 08:25 AM
If your AST made no provision for such an inspection, and the tenants are still in occupation and have not given their permission, then this form of entry and inspection may be considered harassment and in some cases illegal.

Hi tom999,

Thanks for your response. The tenancy agreement does allow for me to inspect the property periodically, provided that I give the T at least 48 hours notice in writing which I did. The agent was there purely on an inspection basis, not to discuss anything with the tenant or remove anything, so I've assumed that I'm covered to do that provided I've complied with the tenancy agreement, despite the fact that the s.21 has been served. However, if I've assumed incorrectly, please do let me know.

Thanks again.

GiantPanda
08-04-2010, 08:33 AM
Correct...
Yes, you've got it in a nutshell...
That's more of a personal decision than a legal thing... if you do go ahead, then there's a big risk that you won't be able to have new tenants move in when you think, and at best you'll have wasted a lot of time and energy in organising it. There's also a strong chance that the current tenant will be uncooperative regarding viewings, and why wouldn't they? (at worst they will prevent viewings, which they are absolutely allowed to do) and of course it is pretty unlikely that the property will be presented well; ie clean and tidy).

If you do decide to go ahead, whatever you do don't end up with a signed contract stating unequivocally that the incoming tenant will be moving in on X date, assuming that the property will be vacant then; because you will make yourself vulnerable to legal action from the now-homeless incoming tenant simply on the whim of your outgoing tenant deciding to stay put after all.

Hi Eric,

Thank you very much for your help. I had feared that I'd "understood" the law correctly, but given the position I could have ended up in, I thought it best to check my facts. Incidentally, the new letting agent I was thinking of appointing (the one that visited the premises for me), seemed to think it was ok for me to go in and change the locks when the s.21 expired, which is very worrying!

Thank you also for your advice on the new tenancy. The T has left the place in a bit of state (thankfully it's largely cosmetic stuff), and I was keen to get on with turning it around and getting it re-let, but you've just reminded me of the old addage, act in haste...

GiantPanda
08-04-2010, 08:41 AM
No, you haven't. The non-payment of rent is irrelevant to a s.21 Notice. Did you mean a s.8 Notice?

Hi jeffrey,

Thanks for your reply. I'm sorry if I've confused things, as I do realise that a s.8 is more appropriate for non-payment of rent than the s.21. I was advised to send the s.21 instead as it gives me the benefit of the accelerated repossession process, so what I meant to say was that the s.21 was issued but that was the reason for issuing it.

Hi Mark1564,

Yes, I read the same article on here too. Words cannot describe how horrified I was! If I remember rightly though, common sense did prevail in the end as the landlord appealed the decision successfully.

Charles19
08-04-2010, 12:19 PM
Thanks for your reply. I'm sorry if I've confused things, as I do realise that a s.8 is more appropriate for non-payment of rent than the s.21. I was advised to send the s.21 instead as it gives me the benefit of the accelerated repossession process, so what I meant to say was that the s.21 was issued but that was the reason for issuing it.


I recently used the Accelerated Possession Procedure (form N5B) costing just £150 online and take to court personally (to ensure delivery). Its very easy to do, provided you have served S21 properly and all dates are ok etc.
However, be advised that they use the word 'Accelerated' in its loosest form and relative to the normal much longer winded processes available to evict.
After S21 expires serve the N5B document to court (three copies needed to be given in) which then gets posted to T address. T has 14 days from receipt (starting about two days after you hand in to allow postage) to reply.
Then court takes a view on it. Should be in your favour if all papers in order. Yet this takes up to about 6 weeks to happen (from after the two weeks). They say its 2-3 weeks but backlogs are normally slowing it all down. You may get lucky of course and be on schedule. But wheels turn slowly and absolutely no way to speed it up!
If decision in your favour its not over. Letter gets sent and T who has time to Appeal (maybe 7 to 14 days, not sure here?) ... and its a similar time frame if T appeals - with delays likely as well. If you win you have another form to fill in if T fails to depart, and give to court. Think its Form N325 (?) So looking at 3 months plus...if lucky really IMHO. Finally you may need to get bailiffs in with the Warrant of Possession (£95) which adds a few days more at very end as well ...

Charles19
08-04-2010, 12:23 PM
I recently used the Accelerated Possession Procedure (form N5B) costing just £150 online and take to court personally

Just to add - you cannot claim any rent arrears back in this APP process at all. Its purely about possession being made possible. Think you knew this but to emphasise for all.
Chas.