The headline news from the Housing and Planning Act 2016 (the
'Housing and Planning Act') makes it look
as though there is a good new solution to enable residential
landlords to get their property back in their control when it has
been abandoned. In practice it contains a number of provisions that
serve only to wrap residential landlords and their agents in
another layer of red tape. Residential landlords used to have two
choices if a tenant abandoned the property part way through a
tenancy: change the locks and risk prosecution under the Protection
From Eviction Act 1977 or obtain a court order for possession.
Obtaining a court order in these circumstances feels like an
unnecessary cost, but when weighed against a possible criminal
conviction it was the only option for a prudent landlord.
In theory under the Housing and Planning Act, landlords now have
a third choice: they can serve three sets of warning notices on the
tenant, named occupiers and any third party deposit payers over a
minimum period of two months to get possession without a court
order if –
(for a tenant paying rent monthly) at
least two consecutive months' worth of rent is unpaid as at the
date of service of the second warning notice and the date of the
final notice terminating the tenancy; and
there is no response to these warning
notices from the tenant, named occupier or deposit payer.
then the tenancy will end on the date specified in the final
This third choice is subject to a right for the tenant to
challenge the termination of the tenancy by application to the
county court at any time within 6 months of the
date of the final notice terminating the tenancy so removing its
usefulness for most residential landlords.
In a market where tenancies are often granted for a maximum of
12 months, the risk that a tenant may be able to revive an
apparently terminated tenancy for up to 6 months after termination
and the effect that could have on the landlord's ability to
re-let the property in the meantime may well mean that a court
order for possession remains the preferred and safe option.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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