Landlord Blog: Cross your T’s and dot your I’s on Notices or pay the price
Tenant eviction is, unfortunately, part and parcel of the private rental sector. Often a frustrating process, many landlords are making life even more difficult and expensive for themselves by incorrectly drafting and/or serving Section 8 and 21 Notices. Rob Denman, Head of GW LET, discusses the impact of failing to cross those Ts and dotting the Is:
“Rightly or wrongly there is a very strict legal process for landlords to follow when evicting tenants. Depending on the reason for the eviction, landlords must first serve a Section 8 or 21 Notice. This is the foundation for any eviction process and therefore must be watertight. However latest figures suggest both landlords and letting agents are making errors on these crucial documents.
“And we’re not talking the odd one or two; in a study of 200 instructions, 62 per cent contained mistakes. Errors included incorrect expiry dates, failure to comply with deposit protection laws, typos and even how the Notice was served.
“From a legal point of view any kind of mistake in a Section 8 or 21 Notice will usually mean the document is deemed invalid. A landlord will therefore have to restart the process from the beginning regardless of how much time has passed or how much money has been paid out. Not to mention the amount of lost rent that’s likely to have already accrued.
“Landlords are understandably looking at cutting the costs associated with tenant eviction; this is why they attempt the process independently rather than turning to a professional. However with nearly two thirds ultimately having to pay for the privilege twice it could in fact be cheaper to obtain professional help from firms such as ours.
“You likely scoff. The connotations of solicitors and law firms remain (unfairly) negative particularly when it come to costs. In fact a recent article revealed there is still a real reluctance amongst consumers to consult a lawyer and will only do so if it is absolutely necessary.
“But it is this misconception that’s costing landlords; in reality things are much different - I for example do not sit in a leather clad office surrounded by dusty legal journals and our costs are not calculated on an hourly basis. In regards to tenant evictions our fees are significantly less than an average month’s rent and, in fact, could cost as little as £150 all inclusive. In the grand scheme of things, this is a small price to pay to get the job done right.”
Rob Denman is a solicitor and Head of GW LET (Landlord Empowerment Team), specialising in such landlord legal issues as rent arrears, tenant eviction and tenancy deposit disputes. In his spare time Rob enjoys watching football and running and has recently successfully completed his second half marathon.
Content correct at time of publication