NGalloway are now offering a problem solving service to tenants,  agents and landlords with complications in their tenancies to prevent a  landlord unknowingly carrying out an illegal eviction. Or in some cases  being investigated wrongly because the tenant landlord relationship has  broken down.  Landlords and tenants face the same issues but from  different angles.

Illegal eviction is a criminal offence and many landlords are putting  themselves at risk in Nottingham because the law is very clear. There  are 32,000 privately rented properties in the city which require a  licence and any landlord who evicts a tenant wrongly risks making  themselves unfit to hold a HMO or Selective Licence as part of the “Fit  and Proper Persons” criteria. They also could be liable to civil  penalties of up to £30,000 per offence.

Things that could constitute an illegal eviction include;

Harassment and threatening behaviour

Making you leave against your will

Using nasty letters that have no legal basis to scare you

A landlord packing up your things to make you leave

Cutting off the electricity or other utilities so you leave

Stopping maintenance or repairs of the property so you leave

Changing the locks whilst you are out or not giving you a key

Stops you getting in to parts of your home


Download the “My landlord wants me out” guide which describes in more detail what illegal eviction is. Click here

If the tenant who has an AST refuses to leave the property on their  own volition then the steps that must be taken by the landlord include;

  1. Notice – The landlord must issue a compliant S21 or S8 notice
  2. Court Order – The landlord must get a court order to make you leave
  3. Court Bailiff – Once a court order is issued then it has to be a bailiff that evicts you

Quick summary of S21 and S8 notices

S21 Notice

This is a “non-fault” notice which most letting agencies and  landlords use because it does not rely on proving anything. If it is  served correctly and is compliant then the judge has to award possession  to the landlord.

To serve a compliant S21 notice the landlord has to be licenced if it is a licensable property and have issued it to the tenant;

The correct version of the “How to rent guide”

Energy Performance Certificate

Gas safety certificate (The plot thickens for Post Oct 2015 tenancies)

Smoke alarms have been checked at the start of the tenancy

The deposit was protected in a government approved scheme

S8 Notice

This is slightly more complicated because you have to prove one of  the grounds and requires evidence that can be challenged at court. Many  agencies and landlords avoid this notice altogether because they see it  as a risk.

There are 17 grounds in a S8 notice that agencies and landlords can  choose from to describe the circumstances why they want possession back  from the tenant. The notice period ranges from 0 days to 2 months  depending on which ground is used.

Once at court the judge has to award possession if the landlord has  used one of the 8 mandatory grounds even if he does not want to. However  even if the landlord proves the case on grounds 9 – 17 the judge can  use discretion which is why agencies and landlords have been using the  “Non-Fault” S21 notices.

The problem

Unwittingly agents and landlords have been creating a situation where  the government and local councils responsible for housing think tenants  are getting evicted for no fault of their own because landlords have  been using the S21 route. There is now a campaign for longer tenancies  (3 years) and strict guidelines around what is a valid S21 notice.

When a family is made or has the potential of becoming homeless this  then places a statutory duty on the Local Authority to assist but they  don’t have the housing stock or resources so they end up housing  families’ in bed and breakfast.

Currently in Nottingham there are around 80 cases per night where the  council are housing people in B&B. The average cost per night is  £100 and means a total cost of £2.9m per year. This does not include  assisting with transport and extra services.  When people become  homeless their health and wellbeing deteriorates rapidly and this has an  impact on themselves and the community.

Not sustainable

This is not sustainable for anyone as councils are experiencing  austerity. Agents and landlords need to be working with the councils to  prevent tenancies breaking down. Otherwise councils have no option to  gear their response to the defence of the S21. This puts considerable  stress and costs onto the landlord who is often ill equipped to deal  with the situation.

The key difference between the S21 and S8 notices are the  intentionality of becoming homeless. If a tenant become homeless via a  S8 notice it is likely for a breach of the tenancy. This includes non-  payment of rent and antisocial behaviour. The council don’t have to  provide housing in most of those cases because the tenants did it to  themselves.

Unless there is a negotiated termination of a tenancy then a landlord  cannot evict a tenant without following the legal procedure. If the  tenant is evicted and they end up at housing aid the council are fully  trained and will be checking the validity of the eviction. If they find  breaches the council can prosecute the landlord for illegal eviction and  ask the court to make an award of compensation to the tenant.

Problem solving

At NGalloway we now offer problem solving to landlords and agents who  have complications in their tenancies and we can negotiate with the  tenant, landlord, council, neighbours and others to find a solution  where everybody wins. In most cases we are able to work closely with the  council and the tenant to change behaviour, fix rent arrears and save  the tenancy if there is a desire to do this.

We provide a bespoke service to solve your problem.

For more information or an informal chat call 0115 697 2829

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