When a tenant stops paying the rent this can be a very stressful period for many landlords. It is important you are well aware of your options, the procedure and the pitfalls when dealing with rent arrears.
Schedule of rent payments
It is important you keep a record of payments due, paid and running rent arrears.
This system is particularly helpful if you have more than one tenant in the property, as it will enable your tenants to see who hasn’t paid.
If the tenants are held on a joint tenancy agreement, you should make it clear to them that in law they are joint & severally responsible for the rent, they are equally responsible for the arrears.
Under a section 8 possession claim (rent arrears claim) if you decide to make an application for possession against the tenant based on rent arrears, you will be required to provide a copy of the rent payment transactions under court rules (CPR).
Put the tenant on notice of the rent arrears
After 7 days, if the rent has not been paid, and your communication with the tenant has fallen on deaf ears, then send your tenant a formal demand by first class mail or hand-deliver it.
In the letter (Download free template from document page), request that the outstanding arrears be paid immediately and ask the tenant to ensure that all future rental payments are made in full and on the date the rent falls due.
Also, enclosed in the letter a schedule showing rents paid and unpaid with running arrears total.
You should also state in the letter if the rent is not paid within the next 7 days you will be forced to take legal action through the courts to which the tenant will be evicted and a CCJ obtained against there name.
Letter to the guarantor
You should also send a copy of the letter sent to the tenant to the Guarantor if you have a guarantor. Request the Guarantor to contact you to discuss the matter in case the tenant does not pay as you will also be taking action against the tenant and the Guarantor.
Possession claim to Evict and seek judgment for rent arrears
If, after 14 days you haven’t received any rent from your tenant or the guarantor if you have a guarantor, you should then serve a section 8 notice (provided you have triggered ground 8).
If you by now have 2 months or 8 weeks rent arrears (does not have to be 2 complete months rent arrears, seek free advice from our advice line). you should now serve a section 8 notice.
If when the section 8 notice runs out (usually 14 days, but under COVD-19 it is 6 months unless rent arrears are 6 months or more) the tenant or guarantor has not paid the rent arrears you can now instruct lawyers to issue a claim under section 8.
We strongly suggest you do not attempt to do the possession claim your self. seek advice from Landlord Advice UK, the tenant eviction specialist company 020 3903 2000. Landlord Advice UK is a service provider to all BLA Members.