Blog » Eviction - the process takes time and the process has got slower.

Eviction - the process takes time and the process has got slower.

Len Nightingale

What is the best the way to evict a tenant? As with all jobs, property management has its unpleasant tasks, with eviction being one of the most unpleasant. But all landlords must be prepared to take eviction on.

I believe that using the law and communicating with the tenant are the keys to dealing with eviction. While the law may sometimes seem restrictive, it is written to provide some dignity to the tenant.

The tenancy tribunal is able to grant a landlord immediate possession of a property, that is at 5pm on the day of the hearing. This is not, however, an invitation to change the locks. The tenant must be informed either by posting a notice on the door of the property or delivering notification papers in person. If done in person, talk calmly but firmly, outlining the actions that you expect the tenant to take.

Nothing happens fast. The tenant is entitled to 48 hours from the time of notification to vacate and move chattels from the property. If they have not vacated in this time, you still do not have the right to take over the property. Instead you must go back to the court and ask a bailiff to enforce the order. Depending on the time and the bailiff’s workload, he or she will visit the property on the same day or the following working day, if you are lucky. Recent staff cuts, up to 75% , in the bailiff service may mean that they may be unable to get to you property for up to a week. If the tenant is present, they will be verbally advised to leave, or another notice will be left on the door stating the time on and date that the bailiff will be returning to enforce the eviction. Health and safety considerations have recently meant that this notice is up to another 4 working days.

You will also be advised of the time of the eviction and asked to be present with a locksmith. At this time the locks may be changed and you will have possession of the property.

If there is a further problem the bailiff will return to enforce the eviction with either a dog handler, a social worker, the police, or all 3 if necessary. This will add another day to the procedure. If chattels remain in the property once the tenant has left, you will be required to set a time to supervise their removal.

The whole process may continue for up to 2 to 3 weeks. Nothing will be done on non-working days, i.e. weekends and public holidays. If handled correctly you can use this to advantage. The law and the eviction process are intended to encourage the tenants to move and if you communicate clearly and the tenant understands the process, they generally take the dignified option and move before the bailiff turns up. It is a pity that the downsizing of the bailiff service has begun to erode the efficiency of the process.

The only antidote to this and the current loss of income is constant vigilance. At Nightingale’s we monitor arrears on a daily basis. Tenants are made aware of the need to pay their rent on time. Any issues are normally dealt with as quickly as they arise.