Growing numbers of landlords are having to evict tenants as they fail to keep up with rising rents, report Coles Miller Solicitors.
The Dorset law firm receives a high number of enquiries from landlords seeking possession orders.
“Most landlords are lucky enough to have good tenants. But that is not always the case and things do go wrong,” said Neil Andrews, one of the landlord and tenant solicitors at Coles Miller.
“Evicting a tenant is not always as easy as you think. Tenants often fail to leave upon service of notice by their landlord.”
An average 60 per cent of tenants fail to leave on their landlord serving either a Section 21 notice or Section 8 notice (for rent arrears, tenancy breaches).
Landlords whose tenants refuse to leave are forced to proceed through the courts to get an order for possession - but often that is not enough. The tenants will still not vacate the property and bailiffs are required.
Rent arrears are becoming a significant cause of these property disputes as tenants struggle to cope with the UK’s austerity era cuts - causing significant problems for landlords.
High rents and rising energy bills - combined with benefits cuts - are stretching family budgets and resulting in more tenants falling behind with their rent payments.
Property rents are now virtually the highest they have ever been, according to latest Buy To Let Index data from LSL Property Services, which owns the UK’s largest lettings agents network.
Rents in England and Wales last month rose 0.7 per cent to an average £743 per month, only £1 off the all-time record set in October 2012.
Landlords with tenants in arrears need to regain possession of their property as quickly as possible so they can re-let it to secure an income. Expert advice from specialist landlord and tenant solicitors is vital.
Arrears of rent are just one ground to seek possession of a property. Other grounds include redevelopment, the landlord needing to move back in, breach of tenancy, nuisance or using the property for illegal activities.
“Some grounds are mandatory but others are discretionary only,” said Mr Andrews, a specialist litigation solicitor.
“The court has wide scope in exercising its discretion and it must be satisfied that it is reasonable to grant possession.
“It is important that you rely on the correct grounds, choose the right notice, ensure that it is properly served and prepare solid evidence in support of a properly drafted claim,” he added.
Use of a Section 21 notice and accelerated possession procedure are a popular route to obtaining possession quickly and efficiently ready for re-letting.
“But deposit protection creates added issues. If you haven’t got this right your Section 21 notice may not be valid.”
To help make the process easier for landlords, the Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset solicitors are offering a fixed fee Possession Order service. It includes a free confidential initial consultation with no-nonsense practical advice.
Coles Miller offers expert advice to individual landlords. It also assists property businesses via its team of commercial lawyers.
For further information about landlord and tenant disputes, please contact Coles Miller solicitor Neil Andrews, 01202 673011.