Knowing your Rights: How to remove bad tenants

Can I do anything about my bad tenants?

According to Simply Business, a recent survey revealed that landlords in the UK are out of pocket to the tune of over £5bn every year because of damage to property and unpaid rent. Broken appliances, damage to carpets and decorating is a big problem, alongside tenants paying late or failing to pay at all.

When you’ve invested in a First Urban Group property, the last thing you want to worry about is bad tenants. You can screen your tenants thoroughly, do all you can do to build positive relationships but sometimes the bad ones will fall through the net.

Below are some of the questions you may have about dealing with such individuals:


What are my rights when it comes to being paid?
This is a landlord’s number one worry, and for good reason. All landlords should have a written tenancy agreement in place, such as an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement, setting out the amount of rent payable and when it is due. It’s best to get your tenant to pay by standing order so you can record received payments and flag any ones you don’t receive.

If rent is late, you can send your tenant a formal demand by letter. If, after two weeks, payment still hasn’t been received, you can send the tenant’s guarantor a letter informing them the rent is overdue. When it gets to 21 days, you can send another letter confirming your wish to take legal action. If no solution is forthcoming, you are then entitled to take legal action.


What about if they damage the property?
When they commit to rent your property, the tenants have agreed to keep it clean and in good condition. While it is your responsibility for the majority of repairs, if the tenant has caused damage well beyond ‘wear and tear’ and they refuse to pay to fix it, it’s within your rights to put forward an eviction notice and hold back their damage deposit to cover the costs.


How can I evict them?
If it has got to the stage that you want your tenants to leave the property, there are strict procedures in place. You can find out more about this on the Direct website, however in the majority of cases, there are three stages:

  1. The tenancy agreement you have in place will normally specify a notice period that you can give your tenants to leave the property. Under section 21 of the Housing act 1988, you must give at least two months’ notice.
  2. If the tenants still remain at the end of the notice period, you’ll need to contact the courts to seek a possession order.
  3. If the possession order is granted but your tenant still doesn’t comply, you’ll have to apply for an eviction warrant from the county court who will be able to arrange for the bailiffs to be sent in.

As a whole, the majority of tenants will treat you and your property with respect but if you’re unlucky enough to be dealing with the bad ones, don’t take the matter into your own hands – seek the right advice and professional help.

Featured image by Stefan Körner – kindly provided by my colleague Stefan Körner, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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