What are the Legal Grounds for Eviction in the UK?

In the UK, the law surrounding evictions is set to undergo a fairly radical overhaul. The changes will likely have an impact on the lives of both tenants and landlords. They’ll simplify some aspects of the process, while introducing some ambiguity that, according to some housing campaigners, risks making it easier to evict problem tenants.

Whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, it’s worth understanding the law as it currently stands, and which practices are allowed and which are not allowed.

Renters’s Reform Bill

The long-awaited Renter’s Reform Bill was finally unveiled by the government in May. It includes two significant changes. First, it abolishes ‘no-fault’ evictions under Section 21. Second, it ends a ban on tenants claiming housing benefits.

Currently, Section 21 grants landlords the power to evict tenants without stating a reason. Having received a Section 21 notice, tenants have two months to leave. If they fail to leave, then the landlord might apply for a court order and force the issue.

Another interesting change concerns household pets. The Renter’s Reform Bill would make it easier for tenants to keep a pet, by allowing them to make a formal request that can’t be ‘unreasonably’ refused.

How does it impact landlords?

Some voices in the industry are concerned about the magnitude of the proposed changes. We may see a surge in landlords looking to cash out. The abolition of Section 21, it is believed, may make the job intolerably difficult.

It comes after significant income tax benefits were removed, with the phased introduction of new mortgage interest tax relief credit. This has meant that only a fifth of mortgage interest payments can be offset against tax.

Given that many landlords will have taken the decision to enter the market before these changes were introduced, it seems reasonable to expect some of them to reconsider in the wake of these new reforms.

On the other hand, we might see other landlords entering the market, picking up the slack left by those departing. You can pick up landlord’s insurance to keep your costs down in the long run, and to offset the risk of an uncooperative tenant.

Legally evict a tenant

As it stands, those looking to evict a tenant must follow a fairly rigid process. You’ll need to provide notice. This might take the form of a Section 21 notice (for the time being), or it might mean a Section 8 notice, which applies to those who have broken the terms of the tenancy.

If the tenant doesn’t move out, then you might seek a possession order from your local County Court. If this doesn’t work, it’s time to apply for a warrant of possession. You’ll need to pay for bailiffs, but you’ll get your property back.

Of course, while this process is ongoing, you’ll be unable to earn money on your investment. On the other hand, it’s vital that you follow the correct legal procedures. If you don’t, then you could be vulnerable to retaliatory legal action.