How can we help you?
RVS Solicitors specialise in private landlords and tenant law. What sets us apart is our approach. We are pioneering a new generation of law firm; providing a modern, vibrant, digitally-based service, tailored to you and your specific legal needs.
Because our service is predominantly digital, we minimise paperwork, preferring to use technology to streamline how we work and communicate with our clients. We put our clients at the centre of what we do; we are available, we value your time, and we ensure we get to understand your unique circumstances.
We are also skilled in mediation and negotiation between private landlords and tenants. If you wish to resolve a conflict or disagreement or handle a sensitive matter which may lead to conflict, we can help you find a way forward in a manner that represents your best interests and preserves your ongoing relationship.
What is the legal process for evicting a tenant?
A landlord who wishes to take possession of their property must follow the legal process. Forcefully evicting a tenant or changing the locks without permission is against the law and landlords can face criminal proceedings if they go down this path. To legally repossess a property a landlord must serve either a section 8 or section 21 notice.
What is the difference between a section 8 and section 21 notice?
One of the biggest causes of confusion is the difference between a section 8 and section 21 notice. Simply put, a section 8 notice can be served if the tenant has breached a clause in their tenancy agreement. Most commonly, the clause breached is that of not paying rent.
A landlord can use a section 21 notice (also known as a Notice of Possession) to allow them to regain possession of the property at the end of the Assured Tenancy or during the periodic tenancy (depending on what is agreed with the tenants).
The main difference between a section 21 notice and a section 8 notice is no reason is required when issuing a section 21 notice other than the landlord wants the tenant to leave the property.
At RVS Solicitors, our team will advise you on the best type of notice to serve, depending on the reasons for wanting possession and whereabouts in terms of the current tenancy you are. If you are nearing the end of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement, it may be best to serve a section 21 notice. Even if the tenant refuses to move out once a section 21 notice is served, the court will enforce it, providing it has been correctly issued. However, a tenant can defend a section 8 notice, and if they are successful, you may also be subject to an adverse costs order
How do I defend a section 8 notice?
If a section 8 notice is issued, it is for the landlord to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that the tenant has breached the terms of their tenancy agreement.
There are seven grounds under the Housing Act, section 8, schedule 2 on which the court must order possession. The most common ground used to bring a section 8 claim is non-payment of rent.
As a tenant, you can either choose to defend the section 8 claim or issue a counter-claim against the landlord. Both actions are likely to delay the eviction process by many months.
It is also important to remember that simply being served a section 8 notice does not mean a tenant will be automatically evicted. A judge can order possession to be suspended, providing the tenant meets certain conditions, such as catching up on all rent arrears and paying rent on time going forward.
Our team can swiftly establish if you have a valid defence following the issuance of a section 8 notice. We can then advise and represent you either in court or by utilising alternative dispute resolution methods such as round-table negotiation and/or mediation, which may help not only to minimise cost and stress but preserve the relationship with your landlord.
What is Possession Claims Online?
Possession Claims Online is a government-run service. Landlords can use this online method to make a possession claim, but only if they are owed money in rent or mortgage payments.
Landlords who choose to use this service should still obtain expert legal advice. Failure to issue a possession notice correctly can be grounds for the tenant to challenge the notice and delay possession.
Our team can provide fast, practical information to both private landlords and tenants regarding possession claims.