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My tenants have rent arrears what can I do?

One of the frequently asked question is; my tenants have rent arrears what can I do?

The answer to this question is based on the an assumption the property is a residential property and the tenancy in place is an assured shorthold tenancy.

If the rent arrears are more than 2 months or if the rent is payable weekly the rent arrears are 8 weeks or more than you can serve a eviction notice known as a section 8 notice (under s.8 of the Housing Act 1988). The notice can also be served where there are less than 2 months worth of rent arrears. However, where the notice is served at a time there is more than 2 months rent outstanding, a mandatory ground for possession applies.

The grounds upon which a section 8 notice can be served are found in Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988, a section 8 notice can also be used to seek for possession of property where a tenant has committed other breaches of their obligations (such causing damage to the let property).

A section 8 notice is a prescribed document which means that such notice must contain specific information prescribed by law. The courts do have the power to dispense with the requirement for the tenant to be served with a section 8 notice, however the court will usually only exercise such discretion in certain circumstances (see Housing Association v King (1996) 28 HLR 270, CA).

The section 8 notice will give the tenant 14 days to pay the rent arrears. If the rent arrears are not paid within 14 days and the tenant has not given up possession of the property,  you can then apply to the court for a possession order.

If you do issue a possession claim pursuant to the section 8 notice, you can ask the court to order:

  1. The tenant to give up vacant possession of the property,

  2. for the tenant to pay you the rent arrears,

  3. for the tenants to pay the court fee and legal costs to you,

  4. for the tenant to pay interest on the outstanding balance, and

  5. for any tenancy deposit help in a protection scheme to be released to satisfy all or part of the rent arrears.

If you require eviction you can contact us on 020 3903 2000.

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