Landlord/tenant problems

One frequent issue  for landlords is collecting unpaid rent and evicting non-paying tenants. The process is usually straightforward but can leave a long gap between your last rent payment and regaining access to your property. Insurance is available to soften the blow. If the amount of arrears is less than £5000, you may issue proceedings in the Small Claims Court. If the tenant admits the claim there will be no hearing. If not, there will be a court hearing. If it's more than £5000, you can issue proceedings in the County Court. Failure to pay rent does not give an automatic right to evict the tenant.

How do I legally evict a tenant?

To legally evict a tenant, landlords must follow a proper procedure. Tenants must receive a legal written notice, a court order for possession and a bailiffs warrant (to be enforced by a County Court Bailiff). Other situations with different rules include a resident landlord, tenants with fixed term contracts and periodic tenancies.

Reporting a landlord

If you are a tenant and the landlord has failed to carry out repairs contrary to the tenancy agreement, this can be dealt with via a solicitor. If, however, the house is in a state of disrepair and difficult to live in, the local authority should be informed. They have the power to compel the landlord to carry out repairs.

Regaining entry if you have been unlawfully locked out

If your landlord unlawfully changes the locks and refuses to let you into your rented premises without a court order, you may use reasonable force to regain entry to your home. However, you must be sure that the landlord has acted unlawfully. If  you have been lawfully evicted, you may be committing an offence of criminal damage.


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