When it comes to issuing an eviction notice to tenants, there are currently two types of notices used to start this process. Firstly, where there has been a breach of the tenancy terms, a section 8 notice may be issued. However, if there is no such breach and the landlord simply wants their property back a section 21 notice may be issued by the landlord or on their behalf by their letting agent or a solicitor.
With it taking on average 8 months to evict a tenant, it’s so important that these notices are issued correctly first time. Any mistakes can add months to the time taken to regain possession.
Squatters are individuals that settle at a property without the consent of the landlord or owner. A Squatter is not a tenant who has stayed on once their tenancy has come to an end.
Common Mistakes to Avoid when Issuing Eviction Notices
1. Two working days’ notice is not given for the service of the eviction notice by first class post.
When drafting an eviction notice which is to be served on a tenant by first class post, it is important to remember that two extra days on top of the statutory notice period required is given. For example, for a section 8 notice on grounds of rent arrears 14 days’ notice must be given. But, if we are posting it by first class post, there must be 16 days between the date the notice is sent out in the post and the date stated on the notice. (The date as to when the tenant must vacate by.)
Please remember that bank holidays and weekends cannot form part of the service days. So if a notice is being sent by post and the next day is a weekend or bank holiday, this will not form part of the two days allowed for the service of a notice on the tenant.
2. The Landlord’s name is given but with the agent’s address on the notice. Or, the agent’s name and address is given on the eviction notice with no mention of the Landlord.
In the case of Prempeh v Lakhany the court held that so long as it is clear who would be bringing proceedings, a notice would not be invalidated on this account. However, it is best to remember that to avoid any arguments made by the tenant or their solicitor, or potentially protracted proceedings, it is best to state clearly the name of the landlord and their address on the notice. As they will be the ones bringing any claim should the landlord decide to issue possession proceedings.
3. Where the Landlord is a company the Director’s name and address is given instead of the Company’s.
It is important to remember that the company would bring proceedings. Hence the company’s name and full registered address as stated on companies’ house should be given on the notice itself.
4. On a section 8, Ground 8 of Schedule 2 of the housing act is given alone, or the grounds are not copied exactly as they are in the legislation.
When pleading ground 8 failure of the tenant to keep up with their rent payments, grounds 10 and 11 should also be pleaded. All grounds should be stated clearly as they are in the legislation.
5. One or more tenants are not named in the eviction notice.
Remember, if a tenant hasn‘t provided formal notice, and returned the property keys, they can at any time come back. They may then argue they are entitled to reside at the property. As a result, if they’re denied access they may try to argue that the landlord has unlawfully evicted them. As such, it‘s important that the notice makes reference to all tenants named on the agreement.
6. The Property address is incorrectly stated.
It is not uncommon to see the property address incorrectly stated. Often it’s the wrong postcode, or door number, or no reference to the flat if in a block of flats. It is important to remember that the full property address is in the notice. This should be including reference to any name or flat number.
Claims can be thrown out of court for a small technicality. This is disastrous for landlords who have waited months for a hearing date. Landlords should obtain legal assistance from solicitors when issuing eviction notices to prevent seemingly small errors becoming big problems.