Reclaiming a Rental Property from Tenants
The procedure you need to follow and the impact COVID has had on the notice period
We get a lot of questions from landlords regarding the termination of leases and recovery of their rental properties. Some people need to move back into their homes while others are looking to sell and liberate much needed capital. No matter what you need to do, coronavirus has changed how you nee to approach this and it’s important to know the impact this has on reclaiming investments.
Last month we discussed what landlords need to do when tenants want to terminate their leases early. This article has a basic explanation of contract terms, which you’ll need to understand the current government guidelines:
So, how do you begin the process of getting back your property?
First, check the terms of your Assured Shorthold Lease. The break clause will dictate the earliest instance that you can approach your tenants; before this point in time you don’t have the ability to formally request your tenants to leave.
So long as you can enact the break clause, you will need to serve a Section 21 – Notice to Quit. This gives the landlord the automatic right of possession without having to give any grounds once the fixed term has expired. Be aware, that you will need to attach the following documents to the Notice:
Rental Agreement, signed by all parties
Gas Safety Certificate
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
Be sure that you’ve complied with the tenancy deposit protection legislation and any applicable property licensing regulations. If you have failed to maintain any of these documents you won’t be able to serve a valid Notice to Quit and should work to put the right paperwork in place immediately.
Presuming that you’ve got all of these pieces in order, most contracts will state that they require a two month notice period but, under COVID guidelines, all landlords are required to give tenants six (6) months to vacate the property:
So, if you serve notice on June 1st then your tenants would have until November 30th to leave the property, with a pretty limited exception set.
If you’re thinking, “This doesn’t apply to my tenancy contract. . . “ then we would encourage you to have a look at the full government advice above for clarification. If you’ve got complicated questions we would encourage you to seek formal legal from a trusted firm.
Whatever your goals are, remember to be sensitive to your tenants and try and maintain good lines of communication, especially if this will come as a shock to them. If you can, try to be flexible with them and ensure that you leave yourself the time you need to deal with you investment.
Additional information can be found here:
The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice and are provided for general information purposes only. We are not in any way providing legal advice or creating any kind of retainer with you; it is simply our desire to share some practical experience and tips.
Do not act or refrain from acting upon this information without seeking professional legal advice: you are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal legal advice about your case or matter and not to rely on the information or comments in this website or blog.