The private rental sector is in urgent need of reform to make it easier and less costly for buy-to-let landlords to evict undesirable tenants that are not paying their rent, fresh research shows.
In terms of time and money, a new study has found that it typically takes at least four to six months to evict a tenant and can cost landlords close to £2,000 in court fees to retrieve control of their rental property.
With rents generally expected to rise faster than property prices over the next few years, StudentTenant.com, which conducted the research, forecasts that more landlords will experience tenant arrears, which will lead to an increase in tenant evictions.
A well-known, reputable residential eviction specialist assisting landlords in evicting tenants costs an eye-watering £1,981 to get the property back in the landlord's possession, with the figures broken down as follows:
Serve 2 Months’ Notice - £120
Landlords are required to serve a section 21 notice to the tenant, giving them two months notice of their intention to evict. The tenant is not legally required to leave the property, and is actively encouraged to stay in situ by housing charities and local councils.
Property Possession Order - £685
If the tenant does not leave the property, the landlord will apply to court for a possession order to get the property back. The eviction process can take between four to six months, depending on how busy the court is.
High-Court Bailiff - £1,176
When a landlord is granted a possession order, the court will set a date for the tenant to leave the property which is usually between four and six weeks. Only a court bailiff can evict the tenant from the property.
Total cost to evict a non-paying tenant: £1,981 and at least nine months.
According to StudentTenant.com, these are not the only costs that landlords have to face when removing a non-paying tenant:
+ If the tenant refuses to pay rent throughout the nine-month eviction process, the landlord could be owed thousands of pounds in rental arrears; whilst the tenant lives inside the property rent free until the eviction date.
+ Landlords are also forced to foot the bill for renovations and fixing any damages to the property, if it has been left in a bad condition by the evicted tenants.
Danielle Cullen, managing director at StudentTenant.com, said: “We really do need reform in the rental sector to protect landlords’ rights when it comes to evicting tenants.
“Local councils are encouraging tenants to stay in the property until the eviction date, usually months into the future, so they are eligible for emergency housing. Tenants can only apply for it once they have been legally evicted, and if they leave any earlier, they are choosing to become homeless and cannot receive any support.
“Landlords and tenants are being really let down by the regulations in the sector. When it comes to removing non-paying tenants, the government needs to make changes to make it quicker to remove a tenant in this kind of situation.
“There also needs to be more support for tenants who are being evicted through no fault of their own. They should be supported in finding a new property, to prevent them from having to stay until they are literally forced out.”