How to evict a tenant for non payment of rent

Evicting a tenant can be very difficult.

Discover how to do it, recovering the rent and which factors to take into consideration.

If the tenant does not leave on or before the possession date, you can instruct a High Court Enforcement Officer to start the enforcement process, organising the eviction of the tenants.

If your tenant owes you also rent arrears on the property, you can add a claim for money to the possession order. This way, you do not need to apply separately for judgment and writ of control. Landlord Tax on holiday Lets

High Court Enforcement Officers must give seven clear days’ notice of the intention to enforce the debt aspect, as well as notice of possession.

County Court bailiff or High Court Enforcement?

There are factors to take into consideration when deciding who to use to enforce a possession; the order will include:

  • How quickly they can act
  • The cost
  • Difficult evictions

Speed of action

In some areas of the country, there may be a considerable time delay before a County Court Bailiff can carry out an eviction.

Once you have permission to use a High Court Enforcement Officer, it is best to request this at the same time. Indeed, the initial application for the possession order, the enforcement part of the order will be transferred to the High Court for execution by a High Court Enforcement Officer.

The transfer time varies from court to court. As soon as the writ of possession is issued, the HCEO will send a 7-day notice of enforcement and will attend promptly once the notice period has expired.

The cost

In terms of costs, County Court Bailiffs seem cheaper than High Court Enforcement Officers. However, they are not necessarily more cost-effective. The current court fee for a warrant of possession is £121. The court fees for a request to issue a writ of possession is £66 (form PF88). Also, there is a £100 court fee to apply for permission to issue a writ of possession.

It is, therefore, a commercial decision and comes down to whether you are prepared to lose the potential rental income from the CCB delays.  Also, whether you consider there is a risk of damage to the property if the tenants are not removed quickly.

Difficult evictions

High Court Enforcement Officers will often have in-house specialist support teams. They are usually more determined than the County Court Bailiff to complete the eviction where the occupants are difficult.

It is not uncommon for hostile tenants to

  • barricade themselves in,
  • climb onto roofs,
  • launch projectiles,
  • booby trap property
  • and physically assault enforcement agents.

If you have particularly aggressive, difficult or vulnerable tenants, in some instances County Court Bailiffs have refused to evict them on the grounds of health and safety.

High Court Enforcement Officers are generally more experienced in dealing with difficult tenants and have the expertise to deal with difficult or dangerous situations, including liaison with the Police where necessary.

Applying for a possession order

Assuming you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), if you wish to evict your tenant you must issue either a section 21 notice giving at least two months’ notice to the tenant, or a section 8 notice which is usually due to rent arrears, giving one month’s notice from the date of breach. If the tenant does not move out by the date specified, then the landlord can start the
possession process.

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