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An Increase in Landlord’s Regaining Possession at the end of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy

Liam O’Shea, Director and Solicitor at Astle Paterson and specialist in Landlord & Tenant law discusses the Panorama episode ‘Britain’s Homeless Families’ which will air on BBC One on Monday 23rd June 2014 at 7:30pm.

Liam stated that “At Astle Paterson we undertake work solely for Landlords.   Amongst other things, we assist Landlords when they wish to obtain possession of a property.

I note that according to the recent BBC report on the forthcoming episode, Panorama will tonight explore the recent Government statistics regarding the number of people and families receiving housing from local authorities after they have been deemed homeless together with looking at the causes.

The Government data states that where a family has been accepted for housing by a local authority, the main recorded reason for the loss of the last home is the end of an assured shorthold tenancy.

Indeed, out of the total amount of households who were accepted for housing in the circumstances for the period 2013/2014 (a total of 52,260) the data suggests that 26% of them (a total of 13,650) found themselves in local authority housing as a direct result of the end of an assured shorthold tenancy: A 15% increase from the period 2009/2010.

It is incorrect to suggest that at the end of an assured shorthold tenancy the tenant is forced automatically to move out and that the Landlord has a right to change the locks the day after the end date of the tenancy. Indeed, should the Landlord seek to evict the tenant without a Court Order then this could constitute the criminal offence of ‘illegal eviction’ (the probable punishment on conviction would at least be a heavy fine.)   In addition the Landlord would face the prospect of civil proceedings for an injunction and damages (compensation.)

Unless the tenant leaves voluntarily, a Court Order ordering a tenant to vacate the property at the end of an assured shorthold tenancy is necessary.  Further, should the tenant remain in the property after the Court Ordered date then the Landlord would not to apply to the Court for County Court Bailiffs to attend the property to ultimately evict the tenant.

Given the above procedure, in our experience Landlords do not seek to evict tenants at the end of an assured shorthold tenancy without good reason – there is usually a history of late payment of rent or default in paying rent altogether.”

If you are a Landlord who is considering whether to request a tenant leave your property at the end of an assured shorthold tenancy it is advisable you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

Kindly note, Liam O’Shea of Astle Paterson specialises in the law of Landlord & Tenant and carries out work on behalf of Landlords throughout Burton upon Trent and the surrounding areas – please contact him on 01283 531366 or by email at loshea@astlepaterson.co.uk.

Please click here to read the Government Statistical Data on Homelessness discussed above.

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