Serving Notice for Possession – My 6-month Assured Shorthold tenant has been giving me problems and I’ve decided to go for possession but I think my tenant may resist. How do I go about serving notice and regaining possession if my tenant refuses to leave?
Under the Shorthold Ground you can regain possession without having to give a reason providing the fixed-term has come to an end, you have served a proper notice in time, and you have fulfilled your other legal obligations such as the tenancy deposit rules.
You should serve a Section 21(1)(b) notice during the fixed term – anytime after the agreement has been signed and the tenancy has actually commenced, right up to and including the last day of the fixed term – if you want to regain possession at the end or soon after the fixed term ends.
This Section 21(1)(b) notice must give 2 clear months’ notice AFTER which time possession can be sought. You cannot commence possession proceeding until the fixed term AND the notice period has ended.
Where a tenancy has become periodic, i.e., where your tenant has stayed on after the end of the 6 months’ fixed term and you have accepted more rent without asking your tenant to leave, you will then need to serve a different notice.
The Section 21(4)(a) (periodic notice) is more complicated in that it must give 2 months’ notice ending on the last day of a rent period, AFTER which possession can be sought.
If, for example, your tenancy commenced on the 2nd of the month, then the last day of a tenancy period is the 1st of the month. If, for example, you were serving notice on the 15th of October, then the notice date would be the 1st of January, giving 2 clear months ending on the last day of a tenancy period AFTER which you would be seeking possession.
Allow sufficient time for the service of the notice which can be delivered by hand, or by 1st class post either by proof of posting or recoded delivery.
This is a complicated process and you need to be precise. If you get any details wrong the court may throw it out – quite a lot of possession claims are rejected in this way. If you are not confident you may find it expedient to use the services of a solicitor or one of the eviction specialists.
Once the notice period is up, you may then need to go through the eviction process using the courts to obtain a possession order, and if necessary use the court bailiffs to actually evict – this whole process can take from 3 to 6 months.
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