Legalities and Possession in Letting UK Property: The Right Way to Non-Paying Tenants

Brett Alegre-Wood
February 7, 2024

Got tenants dodging rent? They fall into arrears and then seem to think they can avoid paying for up to six to eight months, which is incredibly frustrating for landlords. As a landlord, it feels like you're virtually powerless. Let's tackle the legalities and challenges of possession together.

Many landlords wonder if they can just go over, knock on the door, and evict the tenant themselves or change the locks. However, this approach is illegal. In the UK, the only ways to lawfully regain possession of your property are through a court order or if the tenant voluntarily returns the property to you.

What Landlords Can and Can't Do

The truth is, trying to force, coerce, or deceive the tenant into leaving can lead to legal trouble. To navigate this safely, you have to work through the court system, which is currently overwhelmed and slow. The timeline from filing to court and then to eviction can stretch from four to eight months, with additional delays for bailiff involvement.

Complicating matters, councils are advising tenants to stay put until eviction by bailiffs, in order to qualify for council housing. This not only prolongs the process but also increases costs for both tenants and landlords, including potential bailiff fees, cleaning, and locksmith services. Despite the financial and emotional toll, challenging this advice legally is difficult due to the need for concrete evidence and the complex interplay of government endorsement.

Looking for more insights? Join our upcoming seminar, "One Great Property Idea," or set up a 1-to-1 session with our Gladfish property expert. Call +442079236100 or send us a message on our website.

Pre-Eviction Strategies: Negotiating Your Way Out

Before reaching the point of eviction, engaging in negotiations can be effective, especially with tenants experiencing genuine financial difficulties. Proposing solutions like returning the deposit or offering a financial incentive to leave can be more expedient than court proceedings. Mediation early in the process increases the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

Safeguarding Your Property Investment

The journey through tenant arrears and eviction is fraught with legal, financial, and emotional challenges. While the legal system offers a structured path to eviction, the reality for landlords is often more complex. Proactive negotiation and understanding the legal landscape are crucial in navigating these situations. And we get it, even with all these in mind, it's still going to be a pain to navigate through all these legalities instead of focussing on your property investment strategy. We at Gladfish have been helping out investors like you in this property investment journey for over 20 years.

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Don't navigate these challenges alone. Join us at "One Great Property Idea" or schedule a 1-to-1 with a Gladfish expert. For assistance, call +442079236100 or visit our website.


Tags

Buy-to-let property, UK Buy To Let Property, UK Property Investment


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