Debts in Buy to Lets

From: Kitson Hutchings Solicitors
Published: Wed Sep 07 2005

‘Rental arrears, vandalism or just plain antisocial behaviour can all cost a landlord a lot more than simply losing a couple of months rent as it is a criminal offence for a landlord to evict a tenant - including a tenant who is not paying rent or who is damaging the property - without first serving notice in the correct form’ warns Rebecca Boast, assistant solicitor and debt collection expert at Kitson Hutchings Solicitors.

In order to recover possession of a property at any time during the fixed term of the tenancy together with rent arrears, the Landlord must serve a "Section 8 Notice" which must state the reason why notice has been given. The period of the notice depends on the grounds on which it is served, but in the case of rent arrears it will be two weeks. Alternatively, a "Section 21 Notice" may be served at least two months prior to the end of the tenancy in order to terminate the tenancy at the end of the fixed term.

If the tenant still refuses to the leave the property after the expiry date of the notice, then the Landlord must issue proceedings in the County Court requesting an order for possession of the property. Usually, a date for a hearing will be fixed approximately six weeks from the date of issue.

The Court does not have to grant an order for possession unless the tenant is at least eight weeks (or at least two months) in arrears of rent. If the tenant is less than two months in arrears or if the tenant has committed another breach of the tenancy agreement, then the Court has the discretion whether or not to grant the order. If the order is granted, the tenant will usually be given between 7 and 28 days to vacate the property.

‘From the date that the tenant stops paying rent to the date that the Landlord recovers possession can be as long as 5 months; a considerable rent free period that should be worked into any budget when purchasing a buy to let property’ Rebecca added. ‘It is therefore essential that landlords obtain expert legal advice before serving notice as any defect may result in further delays’.

Kitson Hutchings Solicitors can be contacted on +44(0)1803 202020 for further information and advice on any landlord and tenant matter.
Company: Kitson Hutchings Solicitors
Contact Name: Victoria Archer-Hurst
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 01803 202020

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