Legal Q&A: Tenant Failing to Pay Rent

Q. My tenant has failed to pay rent; can I change the locks and remove his contents?

A. You should never simply turn up and remove the tenant in the manner described above. This course of conduct is likely to lead to action being taken against you for illegal eviction.

If a tenant is in arrears then you should firstly try and engage in discussions in order to ascertain any reason for the late payment. If this does not work, assuming it is an assured short hold tenancy (most residential lets are), you will need to serve either a Section 21 or Section 8 Notice.

If the tenant does not leave by the date the Notice expires you will need to take Court proceedings in order to obtain an Order for Possession. Procedures can take between 4 to 12 weeks, but can be longer depending upon court resources.

Once a Court Order is obtained the tenant will be given a date to leave the property. If the tenant does not vacate you they will need to instruct a County Court Bailiff or High Court Enforcement Officer to eventually gain possession of your property legally.

Tenant law is complicated and taking the wrong action can lead to consequences against you as can the service of the wrong Notices. Take specialist advice.

If you would like further advice, please contact Kally Singh at Hegarty Solicitors on 01733 295 642 or email kally.singh@hegarty.co.uk