The Coronavirus Eviction Ban ended on the 21st of September, and you know what that means? The courts are now starting to deal with evictions, once again.
So, there’s no better time to brush up on what constitutes a ‘fair eviction’. After all, there were a 30,813 evictions in England and Wales last year — with London leading the way with 8,258.
Oh, and did we mention how long it takes? On average, it can take 11.7 weeks for an order to even get issued by the court. That’s 3-months of turmoil with your landlord. Yikes.
So, save yourself the aggro and steer clear of these five fair reasons why your landlord could evict you.
1.) Section 21
Believe it or not, your landlord can evict you and provide no reason against you at all. These evictions fall under Section 21, but landlords must still apply to the court.
For example, landlords may use Section 21 because:
- They want to move into the property themselves
- The fixed-term tenancy has ended
- They are intending to sell the property
- The rent is ‘periodic’, meaning it has no fixed end date.
There is also a tonne of reasons why your landlord cannot use Section 21 to evict tenants, such as:
- If the tenancy started after April 2007 and your landlord has not put your deposit in a Deposit Protection Scheme.
- If your landlord has not provided you with copies of the property’s ‘Energy Performance Certificate, the current ‘Gas Safety Certificate’ of the property, or the government’s ‘How to Rent’ checklist.
Since the 29th of August 2020, the minimum notice period for landlords is 6-months. So, if you’re ever dealt a Section 21 notice, be sure to double-check this.
2.) Anti-social behaviour
There’s no surprise that anti-social behaviour can wind tenants up in a stressful, long eviction process. For this to happen, the offences have to be made by you, a household member, or visitors to your home — so, think twice about who you’re letting in. Examples of this include:
- Racist or homophobic abuse
- Causing a nuisance to your neighbours
- A criminal conviction for a serious offence
- Threatening your landlord’s staff or contractors
- Using your home for illegal purposes, such as drug-related activity.
It’s worth noting that evictions of this nature will be on discretionary grounds, meaning the judge will make the decision based on the evidence that’s presented. So, your landlord can’t hurl you into an eviction process with no tangible, concrete proof that you or someone else is being a nuisance.
3.) Rent arrears
Aah, rent arrears. The most common reason for evictions. Referred to as ‘priority debts’, failure to pay your rent can have serious consequences if it’s not dealt with accordingly. It’s a breach of your tenancy agreement, after all.
If you’ve found yourself in rent arrears, this can be incredibly distressing. Landlords should only use eviction as a last resort, so there may be ways for you to resolve this beforehand.
If you’re having problems paying your rent, it’s vital to contact your landlord. If the pandemic has disrupted your income, you could negotiate a rent reduction. You can also ask to have your universal credit or housing benefit paid directly to your landlord.
For this type of eviction, the ‘reasonable’ standard must apply. This means your landlord can’t hand you an eviction notice for rent that’s a day late.
4.) Damage to the property
It’s common for rental properties to experience damage at some point, whether it’s the landlord or tenants’ responsibility. There’s also reasonable ‘wear and tear’ to be accounted for, which should never be a motive for eviction.
But let’s say you’ve spilt red wine on the cream sofas. Then smashed a window. And then failed to heat the property efficiently and the pipes burst — the final nail in the coffin. It’s too much damage, and your landlord wants you out. Can we really blame them?
5.) False information
Lastly, we have false information. Lying to your landlord or fabricating essential documents like credit checks or references is a risky game.
When a landlord sniffs out a deceptive tenant and presents strong evidence against them, then this will almost always result in eviction. Unless your landlord has made some sort of mistake, there’s really no way of getting out of this one.
To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, always be truthful and double-check you don’t gloss over any small details. While it may not seem like a big deal at the time, it can land you in a stressful, sticky situation. Honesty is the best policy, after all.
Time for another? Head to our Property section for more useful articles.
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