This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more about cookies on this website and how to delete cookies, see our privacy notice.
Analytics

Tools which collect anonymous data to enable us to see how visitors use our site and how it performs. We use this to improve our products, services and user experience.

Marketing

A bit of data which remembers the affiliate who forwarded a user to our site and recognises orders from those who become customers through that affiliate.

Essential

Tools that enable essential services and functionality, including identity verification, service continuity and site security.

Landlord Insider
On the Landlord Insider blog, you’ll find some excellent resources for landlords of all sizes. From the latest landlord news, to professional advice, tips and guides for landlords, there’s something for everyone. Brought to you by the excellent team behind the Landlord Vision property management software.

Getting Eviction Ready – Part 3 – Eviction Pitfalls and how to Avoid Them

Grungy Old Door With A Yellow Eviction Notice

Thankfully, the UK Government finally lifted the eviction ban. Lifting the eviction ban resulted in a lot of eviction traffic to the Court. The increased influx of traffic has worsened the delays in dealing with the evictions as a result of the recently lifted eviction ban. Of course, there had already been court delays occasioned by the COVID-19 constraints.

Below is the standard message you now expect to receive when emailing the Court: 

AUTO RESPONSE DO NOT REPLY – CCBC AQ Acknowledgment

COVID- 19 Update;

Due to COVID-19, we may take longer to answer your calls and correspondence and to process claims. We are sorry but, to prioritise urgent work, we cannot provide updates on how your case is progressing.

The County Court Business Centre are currently working a 50/50 split of available staff resource, a week on, week off system to safeguard our team and to comply with social distancing, in our commitment to delivering an ongoing service to our customers.

If you should have any queries please forward to CCBC@JUSTICE.GOV.UK

Thank you for emailing the County Court Business Centre, please accept this as a receipt of your email.  Where a response is required we will endeavour to respond to your email within 10 working days (please do not re-send duplicate messages)

 If you’ve submitted a complaint, please note that the Court will aim to reply within ten working days. (please do not duplicate complaint

These delays, whilst inevitable, are costly for landlords.  Costly in continued unpaid rents and legal costs. To save time and money, we must avoid eviction pitfalls that could result in further delays, loss of rental income and increased costs. 

Property investment is a journey. To avoid the pitfalls in our path, we learn from those that have trodden the path before us.  Learning from other landlords’ mistakes can save you making the same mistakes. This, in turn, could help save you time, heartache and money. 

The primary eviction pitfalls relate to the validity of the actual eviction notice.  It makes sense to focus on the five common complaints on the validity of eviction notices as they cause the primary pitfalls. As a natural consequence of considering the said common pitfalls, we will also cover other ancillary matters in the chain of causation. 

What Makes Eviction Notices Invalid?

Validity, or rather invalidity of notices, is commonly caused by: 

1. The wrong notice 

2. The wrong notice period 

3. The wrong address 

4. The wrong timing of service

5. The wrong time limits

6. The wrong…. oops. The list of wrongs seems to be unending. We said we are focusing on five issues, right? So, let’s do that. 

We address each point in turn: 

Wrong Notice Served 

Serving the wrong notice could be fatal to a landlord’s eviction claim. 

Different tenancies require different types of notices. The exact procedure is dependent on the tenancy type and tenancy terms.  Our current focus is on Assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs). 

There are two primary types of ASTs. Fixed-term tenancies and periodic tenancies. Fixed-term tenancies run for a defined period of time: for example, six months. Periodic tenancies run periodically: for example, week by week or month by month with no fixed term end date. 

A landlord can use a section 21 notice to take back possession of a property after the fixed term has expired subject to defined prerequisites, which we discuss in a separate article.  A landlord can issue a section eight notice any time if the tenant has breached the tenancy terms and the relevant eviction grounds are met. 

Landlords must comply with all pre-conditions and ensure the correct notice is served. 

Wrong Notice Period 

Giving the correct notice period is imperative to a successful eviction. Eviction Notice periods have changed. 

The eviction notice periods are now longer due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). This applies to section 21 notices and section 8 notices. The specific notice periods do differ. 

A timeline of the notice period required for a section 21 notice is as follows: 

  • The eviction notice period before 26 March 2020 was two months
  • The eviction notice period from 26 March to 28 August 2020 was increased to three months
  • The eviction notice period from 28 August 2020 doubled from three months’ notice to six months. 

Outside the section 21 notice world, the position has changed differently. It is worth noting, albeit in passing, that some notice periods have returned to their pre-Coronavirus Act 2020 lengths. This does not directly relate to the subject matter in hand but covers issues of serious concern requiring immediacy of possession. 

In section 8 matters, where at least six months of rent is unpaid, a minimum 4-week notice period will be required. If less than six months of rent is owed, then the notice period is six months. Where a tenant has passed away or is in breach of immigration rules and does not have a right to rent a property in the United Kingdom, then a minimum 3-month notice period is usually required.

A 6-month notice period is required for all other grounds

Wrong address for service of the eviction notice 

Any mistake on a notice could invalidate it—even an error in the address. Please ensure you pay attention to the address for service contained in the tenancy agreement. An address for service often is but is not always the residential address. 

The Wrong timing of service of the eviction notice 

 Subject to satisfying the relevant requirements of the requisite eviction grounds, a section 8 notice can be served at any time during the tenure of the tenancy. 

A section 21 notice, however, cannot be validly served within the first four months of the tenancy. Timing is crucial. 

The wrong time limits

The notice won’t be valid if it’s too short or the landlord applies to Court too late.

Last week, a client instructed us to issue possession proceedings. The client was confident that the section 21 notice served was valid. A copy of the redacted notice is exhibited below (with the client’s permission).  This seems to have become a common mistake in light of the recent changes.

Competition time  

Can you spot the mistake in the notice? 

A Form 6a application for eviction

The second part of a Form 6a application for eviction

“The third part of a Form 6a application for eviction

Read More Like This.

Julie Condliffe

Julie Condliffe

Julie Condliffe has been advising landlords and tenants for over 16 years. She has worked with residential and commercial landlords, servicing clients including Sainsburys, Barclays Bank, Argos and Homebase among many other companies. Her work also involves portfolio landlords and individuals at all income levels. Having managed to build a successful property portfolio of her own, Julie Condliffe is a landlord first, then a solicitor. She is passionate about property. She is a specialist property-litigation solicitor with extensive eviction experience. She is the founding partner of CreativeLegals.com a law firm specifically for landlords. With a vast experience in all landlord and tenant disputes, Julie brings her passion and expertise to help resolve whatever legal challenge may be presented.