Is Your Tenant In Rent Arrears?

Occasionally Landlords will have Tenants who complies with the terms of the tenancy agreement and pay the rent on time with no issues.

However, in the unfortunate event that a Landlord has to deal with a Tenant who defaults on the rent payments then the Landlord may wish to consider the options available to them. Whilst Landlords tend to own the property that they rent out a Landlord cannot simply kick the Tenant out, there is a process that the Landlord need to follow.


Enter in to Negotiation discussions with the Tenant

A Landlord should try and speak to their Tenant if the Tenant is in breach of any of the terms of the tenancy.  Any verbal communication should be followed up in writing to ensure that there was no misunderstand.

If the Tenant is in rental arrears then the Landlord may consider whether they would be agreeable to a repayment plan or seek the Tenant’s consent to deduct the outstanding rent from any deposit that is being held in a deposit scheme.   Sometimes communication with Tenants does not always work and therefore, this would leave the Landlord with the only option but to issue court proceedings to regain possession of the property.


Monetary Claim

The Landlord could issue a money claim against the Tenant for the rental arrears. There are set proceedings that the Landlord must follow i.e. complying with the pre-action protocol and sending a letter before action.

If the Tenant fails to respond to the letter before action then the Landlord can then issue a monetary claim against the Tenant.


Eviction Claim

There is a 3 stage process to eviction claims for both Section 8 (breach of tenancy) and S21 Route (possession and money judgment / possession only) which are set out below:


Section 8 Route – breach of terms of the tenancy

  1. Notice

Where a Tenant is in breach of the terms of the Tenancy or in rental arrears then the Landlord can prepare a Section 8 Notice giving the Tenant a certain length of time to rectify that breach.

  1. Issue Court Proceedings 

If the tenant fails to pay the arrears or rectify the breach then the Landlord can issue possession proceedings.

The Landlord have the option to issue proceedings online via possession claims online if the breach is only in relation to rent arrears. There is a court fee of £355. The court will issue the claim and if the Landlord has provided the Tenants address within the claim form then the Court will serve the claim on the Tenants. The Tenant will have 14 days to respond to the claim. The Court will also list the matter down for a hearing.


Section 21 Route – no fault possession 

  1. Notice 

Landlord must give the Tenant at least 2 months’ notice to vacate. This route has become stricter in a sense that there are a number of obligations on a Landlord that must be fulfilled in order to use this route.

  1. Issue proceedings 

There are two options which a Landlord could take which are as follows:

  1. Standard Route: The process is similar to issuing proceedings under the Section 8 route as a hearing date will be listed. A Landlord can use this route for possession and also a monetary judgment for the rental arrears.
  2. Accelerated Proceedings Route: this route can only be used if the tenancy agreement is in writing and all the Landlord’s requirements are fulfilled (i.e protecting deposit, serving EPC certificate, served Gas Safety, How to rent booklet on the Tenant). The Accelerated Route is only available for possession only. This means that the Accelerated Route cannot be used if the Landlord wants to seek possession and also a monetary judgment for the rental arrears.
  3. Instruct Bailiffs

Once an Order for Possession has been granted (regardless whether it has been made under the Section 8 Route or the Section 21 Route), the Landlord can instruct County Court Bailiffs or apply to the County Court to obtain permission to instruct High Court Enforcement Officers.  The Bailiffs will then arrange an appointment date to attend the property to lawfully evict the Tenant.

If you are dealing with a “difficult” tenant or facing rent arrears, please contact our experienced litigation team.