How Much Notice Does a Landlord Have to Give?
In the event of a landlord deciding to end a tenancy at a property they own, there is a clearly defined process designed to protect the rights of both tenant and property owner.
To gain vacant possession of an investment property, a landlord must serve written notice. If a tenancy agreement has been signed by both tenant and landlord, the landlord will most likely not have the right to gain vacant possession of the property until the term of the tenancy has concluded. If the landlord is within their legal right to serve notice, they must give a date by which the tenant is expected to vacate the property. This date will vary depending on the type of tenancy, and the landlord will be expected to have met clear guidelines, both in the course of the eviction and during the tenancy.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy
The most common form of tenancy is known as an AST - Assured Shorthold Tenancy, these represent the vast majority of tenancies in the UK and generally are agreed for a term of 12 months, although this can vary. During the agreed term of the tenancy, as long as rent is paid in a timely manner, it is generally not legally viable for the property owner to evict. Once the term of the tenancy concludes, and a new tenancy agreement is not agreed upon, the tenancy becomes what is known as ‘rolling’, meaning it has no fixed term and either tenant or landlord can serve notice to terminate the agreement. In order for a landlord to serve notice at this point they must serve what is known as a section 21.
A section 21, of the housing act 1988, also known as a no fault eviction is the method by which a landlord can serve notice to evict on a tenancy that has not fallen behind on rent or breached the tenancy agreement in some other way. It must give at least two months notice, and can only be valid if certain requirements have been met by the landlord. At the commencement of the tenancy, the deposit must have been registered in a regulated scheme, and the tenant has to have been served with a valid ‘How to Rent’ guide as well as an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate and Gas Safety Certificate. If the aforementioned regulations have not been met, the tenant may have recourse to refuse the notice, and potentially recoup financial damages from their landlord.
A Section 8 is served when there has been no proven breach of contract by the tenant, in cases where the tenant has broken the terms of the tenancy, a Section 8 notice can be served by the landlord. These notices are usually served when rent is in arrears, but can be used for all manner of breaches of contract, such as unproved pets, smoking indoors, antisocial behaviour, using the property as a business premised or illegal activity. Normally a Section 8 must give 2 months notice, however if the activities of the tenants are damaging the property or are illegal, you can apply to the courts for a reduced notice period.
If you live in the same domicile as your tenant, and share amenities such as kitchens and bathrooms, you have what is known as a lodger and your agreement is what is known as an ‘excluded tenancy’, your rights as a landlord are different, with shorter eviction timeframes and only their bedroom generally being off limits for inspection without fair notice. It is important to note that these agreements are valid only when the landlord is resident in the property, once the landlord vacates, an Assured Shorthold Tenancy will need to be agreed. Once the agreed term of an Excluded Tenancy is concluded, the landlord can evict without notice, if the agreement is still within it’s term, then their notice period for an eviction will be stated in the contact.
If a lawful eviction notice is served on any type of tenancy, and the property remains occupies after the notice period has concluded, a landlord will need to take a tenant to court in order to get vacant possession of their property, changing the locks or forcibly removing a tenant without a court order is illegal.
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