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What happens if a tenant doesn’t move out at the end of the tenancy?

What happens if a tenant doesn’t move out at the end of the tenancy?

This is an ever worrying question for landlords, especially with the fact that local authorities are now advising tenants to stay put beyond the tenancy end dates if they have not found another property.

Many landlords struggle to understand that you cannot simply just turf a tenant out of a property if they don’t leave- you have to follow a set procedure and abide by the law otherwise it will be deemed as harassment.  

To gain possession a section 21 notice needs to be served giving the tenants a minimum of 2 months’ notice. This cannot expire before the end of the fixed term and the tenants have the right to stay in the property for a minimum of 6 months which is set out in the housing act 1988.

If the tenant fails to leave on the last day of the tenancy then you would need to go to court to ask for an order for possession. You can choose to go for an accelerated possession order which is the quickest way of trying to gain possession as you don’t need a court hearing, however you will need to make a payment before action can take place.

Providing the notice has been served correctly then a judge will grant possession between 14 and 42 days after the date of the hearing. It will be at the longer end if the tenants claim hardship or make an objection.

If the tenants still don’t leave by the date the possession order states then you have to request a warrant for possession. The tenant’s will then be sent an eviction notice giving a date they must leave by. Bailiffs will then be able to remove the tenants from the property.

The terms of the original tenancy will continue as long as the tenants stay so they will still be responsible for rent payments until the day they leave.

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