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What can I do if my tenant will not leave?

The answer to this question will depend on a number of issues:

  1. The reason you have asked the tenant to leave i.e. rent arrears, you are selling up, etc.
  2. Your relationship with the tenant
  3. How good the communication is between landlord and tenant.
  4. The grounds for possession and route that you have followed i.e. section 21 or a section 8 notice.

1. Serve notice and start the repossession process

If your tenant has been served notice (typically a Section 21 or Section 8 depending on the grounds) - which is “stage one” of the process of gaining possession - and refuses to leave, then you will need to take further action.

This could be to go to “stage 2” of the eviction process and get a possession order for your property.

This involves a short court hearing where, provided all the paperwork is in order, and there are no extenuating circumstances, the Judge usually grants the landlord possession of the property and the tenant will be notified that they have to leave by a certain date.

If the tenant has not left by the due date, then you will need to go to “stage 3” of the process, which is to instruct bailiffs.

Unfortunately, many local authorities who are unable to house tenants being asked to leave private sector accommodation, advise tenants to remain in the property until eviction! This is bad advice, as the tenant will get a CCJ against them, which may affect their credit rating, not to mention that it may put off another private landlord letting to them.

It also puts huge financial stress on the landlord, as no doubt the tenant will not pay any rent at all during the period they are waiting for the bailiffs to turn up.

A typical timeframe from serving notice to getting tenants evicted is between four and eight months, depending on where you live in the UK and how busy your local courts and bailiffs are.

You can opt to use High Court Sheriffs to undertake the eviction, as they can be a lot quicker, but they are also significantly more expensive.

The total cost of the 3 stages, if using a specialist company that undertakes this kind of legal work, can be between £1,000 and £3,000, depending on the complexity of the case and which type of bailiffs are instructed to undertake the eviction.

You can undertake this on a DIY basis, but, if you do not fill in the paperwork correctly, the case will get thrown out of court. This is why most landlords opt to pay for a professional company to get the tenant removed from the property, not to mention that it is also less stressful as, by this time, the relationship between the landlord and tenant is often very strained, or has broken down completely.

2. Financially incentivise the tenant to leave

The second option worth considering if you have a good relationship with the tenant and are in communication with them, is to financially incentivise them to leave the property.

This suggestion often sticks in the craw of landlords as they don’t want to pay out money to a tenant who is in rent arrears, which is understandable. However, the costs of evicting a tenant are far greater than offering them a sum of, say, £500.00 to leave the property without further fuss.

This can also be a good option if you are selling up and find a buyer quickly, as it can soften the blow of a tenant being told that they have to move and make them far more co-operative in terms of moving out, so that your buyer can complete with vacant possession to a precise timescale.

3. Sell to a professional property buyer

The third option is to sell your property, complete with delinquent tenants, to us at Landlord Buyer. We will buy any type of property in England and Wales in any condition and with any type of tenancy. We have no problem buying a property where the tenant is refusing to leave.

We are genuine cash buyers and can complete on a property transaction in as little as 7 days.

Many landlords opt for our service as it gets rid of the entire headache of a tenant refusing to leave, especially if the tenant had been asked to leave because the landlord wished to sell up.

Due to the new tax regime known as Section 24, many landlords are finding that their property holdings are no longer profitable, and are looking to sell.

Our service was set up specifically to cater to landlords, as most estate agents will (wrongly) advise you that you should get vacant possession before you sell.

This could mean many months of tenants living for free in your property, while you are paying the mortgage while trying to gain possession in order to be able to sell it. Naturally there can be substantial costs of holding an empty property.

These same tenants may refuse to allow viewings, or be disruptive to the process, frustrating the sale further.

With our professional property buying service, we may not even need to undertake an internal viewing, so the tenants will not be able to kybosh our purchase!

While we do not pay market value, and typically seek a 20% discount from market value, you should bear in mind that without vacant possession, your property is not attractive to end users, not to mention that you should put a price on all the stress involved with trying to evict a tenant.

With our service, there are no estate agent fees to pay, as you would have been paying 1 to 3% in fees plus VAT. Add that in to months of unpaid rent, and the numbers will start to tell you that our solution could be the best way forwards for you.

Please get in touch with us for an informal chat or a no-obligation cash offer for your property, that we will make to you within 48 hours of receiving your enquiry.

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