Vanguard Solicitors

Recovering possession of rented residential property is not always a simple process. At "common law" a person with a right to possession of property can bring proceedings to regain possession of that property from the occupiers. The common law is refined by various statutes. To claim possession the occupier must have no right to occupy the property. Either the occupier never had any rights (squatters) or those rights must have come to an end. The landlord is normally required to serve a notice and then, if the tenant fails to leave, to pursue possession proceedings through the Courts.

Residential tenants and most residential licencees are covered by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. This makes it an offence to unlawfully evict a tenant. The tenant would also be entitled to sue for unlawful eviction. Lodgers who share the property with the landlord are excluded from the Act.

The only lawful ways a landlord can recover possession of residential property are by agreement with the tenant (surrender), upon the tenant vacating the property (abandonment) or by obtaining a court Order. Abandonment is a problem because of the difficulty of actually proving the tenant has gone. It would normally require the tenant to have handed back the keys or to have completely removed all of their belongings from the property and to have stopped paying rent.

Tenants of private landlords are either assured tenants or assured shorthold tenants under the Housing Act 1988. To regain possession from an assured tenant you have to serve notice (called a section 8 notice) and prove that either a mandatory or discretionary ground for possession are made out. Where the ground is discretionary you also have to show it is reasonable to make an Order. With an assured shorthold tenancy you can either seek possession as if it were an assured tenancy or serve at least 2 months clear notice (called a section 21 notice) that cannot expire within the initial fixed term of the tenancy, advising the tenant you wish to recover possession of the property.

If you would like to know more about how the expert team at Vanguard Solicitors can help, get in touch today.

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