Q. I rented my property myself without the use of an Estate Agent and sadly my tenant has stopped paying his rent. I am a complete novice at being a Landlord and not sure what I need to do next. Can you tell me what I need to do to get him out; I am really confused as to what type of notice I need to issue him?
A. There are two types of options open to a landlord when you need to end a tenancy or seek possession. Option 1 is a Section 21 (s21) Accelerated Possession Procedure. This route gives the Landlord possession at, or after, the expiry of the initial fixed term tenancy period. It is imperative to note that you are not automatically entitled to possession upon expiry of the tenancy so you must serve notice on the tenants at least two months before you wish to claim possession. Taking this route means that there may be no need for a court hearing, this is likely to cause you less hassle as providing you have correctly served the S21 notice the court must grant a possession order in your favour. However the court does not have the power to make a money judgment under this route, which means it cannot order the tenant to repay any rent in arrears. If you are seeking possession and unpaid rent then you are better advised to go for the second option for Landlords which is a Section 8 (s8) Standard procedure. This route gives you the right to possession if particular terms of the tenancy agreement have been breached. The length of the notice will vary upon the grounds you are using to seek possession; there are 17 different grounds the most common being rent arrears. If you chose to serve a s8 notice it also allows for a money judgement to be obtained along with an order for possession. Bear in mind though that s8 proceedings can often be lengthy as they are likely to be defended by the tenant, so the nature of the breach of tenancy will be important. Where both routes apply such as in your case – it may be better to go down the s21 route, as faster possession will mean that you can re-let the property sooner. Do remember that you must serve the appropriate notice on the tenant before any proceedings can commence.