No written tenancy agreement? No problem!

Landlord and tenant dispute
Landlord and tenant dispute

Have you agreed to let a tenant stay at a property you own temporarily? Perhaps a family member or a friend?

Do you feel the tenant is abusing your good nature as they are always late paying the rent, or even worse, the person is not paying it at all?

Is the tenant not looking after your property properly? Not keeping it clean and tidy?

Is the tenant annoying and harassing the neighbours?

Do you feel upset, lost, and confused because you do not know what steps to take next? 

Are you worried that you are losing money on your property investment?

Many hardworking, honest, and trustworthy landlords, just like you, unknowingly find themselves in a similar position.  You are not alone. 

Below are 5 tips on how to evict a tenant without a tenancy agreement.

Tip 1 – What agreement is in place?

Although you did not enter into a written tenancy agreement with your tenant, there is still a legally binding agreement in place.  The question really is, what has been agreed upon? 

How long did you tell the tenant they could stay in your property? How much rent did you agree your tenant should pay? What frequency did you agree that the rent should be paid and on or before what date?

Tip 2 – If your tenant wanted to give you notice to leave, would they know what address to use?

Even though the arrangement is informal, did you know that Section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 requires a Landlord in England and Wales to give their tenant written notice of a postal address where they can be reached?  For example, the landlord’s home or business address.  Or the address of the landlord’s estate agent.

Unfortunately, the law has not yet caught up with modern technology, and an email is unlikely to do as of the date of writing this article.  A PO Box cannot be used either.

If you do not give your tenant proper written notice of your address, the rent will not be due until you do!

Tip 3 –  Did you take a deposit from your tenant?

There is no legal requirement for a landlord to take a deposit.

However, understandably landlords may want to take a deposit to incentivise a tenant to look after the property they let. 

If a deposit has been received from a tenant on or after 6 April 2012, as a landlord, you must have properly protected it in a tenancy deposit protection scheme within the first 30 days, along with giving your tenant full information about how the deposit has been protected, called the prescribed information.

If you did properly protect your tenant’s deposit and you did provide your tenant with the prescribed information, you should gather evidence to prove that you did comply with the law.

If you did not protect your tenant’s deposit and provide them with the prescribed information in time, you may wish to consider returning the deposit to your tenant.

There is also a risk that your tenant may bring a claim against you for up to three times the amount of the deposit they paid.   

Tip 4 –  Notice to quit

You must give your tenant sufficient notice to leave your property. 

The notice should be in writing and offer a reasonable period to leave. 

If notice is given due to rent arrears over two months, two weeks’ notice may be sufficient.  In other circumstances, at least two months’ notice may be required.

Tip 5 – Take professional legal advice

If you feel that you have taken reasonable steps yourself to get your property back, but your tenant still won’t leave, you may wish to consider taking legal advice. 

Remember, it is an offence to evict without a court order or to harass a person to leave.   If you give your tenant an invalid notice to quit, your case may be thrown out, making it more difficult to pursue your tenant again.

Make a free enquiry.

Tenant eviction solicitors in Beckenham and in the City of London.

If you would like an informal chat, we are tenant eviction solicitors, contact us, and we can arrange a time to speak that works best for you.

Call us on 020 8150 7171, email [email protected] or complete our Free Online Enquiry for a free, no-obligation discussion and let us explain your legal rights and options.