New tenant already in arrears

Hi all, so I had two new tenants movie in 2 months ago, and although I had reservations about them being able to afford the property long term, I thought I’d give them the benefit of the doubt and go with them anyway seeing as they wanted to make it their forever home. I therefore thought they would make sure they found the rent every month. But already on the date the 3rd installment is due, they suddenly can’t pay and have made a token payment. My question is, I know that you can start eviction proceedings after two months of non payment, but does that still stand if they have been making some payment each month, or does that somehow protect them so you can never kick them out? I’m well aware I made a mistake, so not looking for sympathy, just legal facts. Many thanks in advance.


Is your AST for 6 months or 12 months?

1 Like

To be able to issue a section 8 notice they need to be 2 months behind on rent (total of all underpayments). Assuming you used a 6 month ast then you can issue a section 21 notice giving 2 months notice after 4 months, so they leave after 6 months. Assuming they actually leave, otherwise its the courts…

1 Like

Hi Richard. I’m pretty sure I used a 12 month one. I wasn’t quite clear on your answer, really sorry. If they pay so much each month, does that mean I can never class them as 2 months behind? This month they underpaid by £750. What say they make a token payment each month? Thanks.

1 Like

It’s 12 months. I usually prefer that.

They need to be 2 months behind so the underpayments need to total 2 x monthly rent (doesn’t matter how many months this is over) before you can issue a section 8. The tenant is then able to make a payment to reduce the arrears below 2 x monthly rent by time of the court hearing which would then invalidate your notice. Best to keep to 6 months ast’s…

1 Like

they will play the game . evict asap Head not heart. We have all done similar

1 Like

Thanks Colin. Believe me, I have zero sympathy, nor do I believe their story as to why they can’t pay. I accepted a partial rent payment though, so I’m still wondering, if they put a token amount in my bank each month, can I still start eviction proceedings after 2 months, or does this murky the waters in their favour? Thanks again for your prompt reply.

Thanks Richard. So I should start refusing partial payments then. I’ve read somewhere you can refuse and just issue a letter stating the full amount is due, and telling them I can add interest or start eviction shortly.

I am no expert in this the only thing I can remember is that a tenant can do partial payments to hold eviction at bay whilt still owing more rent No doubt better than me will help in this

Much appreciated again. They also named a guarantor whom I didn’t pay to get, but they are named on the tenancy agreement. Unsure if I should try to get in touch with them, or insist my tenant does. I also screenshotted this from my contract just now. Although I’ve signed a 12 month AST, it appears I have a 4, not 6, month break clause which sounds unusual.

Guarrantor . Great. you get in touch with them and tell them you will seek payment off them for any shortfall


Six months is always better as in situations like this you can then use s21.

I think refusing payment could be dangerous. I dont know what a lawyer would say but if you refuse payment it seems to me you will have acquiesced to non payment and court proceedings might fail.

The one time i had a similar situation i did a money claim online for the overdue rent first which avoids establishing anything other than they owed you money. It didnt get paid but they did a runner…

Only problem then was actually establishing that they had left the property.


don’t refuse any payment no matter how small. They can fend off a S8 notice indefinitely with small payments so that route is hardly ever going to work. They have a guarantor. In the first instance, I’d ask them to contact the guarantor (copying you) to make up shortfall so far and give them a deadline for the guarantor to pay in (i.e. before next rent payment is due). let them know that if this doesn’t happen, you’ll get in touch with guarantor to ask for payment. Your focus should be on the guarantor as that’s what they’re there for.

Let all parties know that there’s a risk you’ll have to issue S21 as soon as your AST allows if rent falls any further behind.


Hi Sarah, get the guarantor notified requesting them to make up the shortfall by a specific date. This should put pressure on the tenant as the guarantor will not be happy to pay the rent arrears. Make it known to Guarantor of your intention to issue S21 in due course. This will add to the pressure on the tenant

Thanks Geoff. She’s now paid, but I suspect it will happen again.

1 Like

I think you have a 6 month break clause, but have to give two months notice hence the 4 months. You need to issue a s21 at 4 months (don’t be late). It doesn’t prevent you issuing a S8 as well. You can also issue a money claim online for any outstanding rent if you want to put the pressure on. It is not that difficult but make sure you issue a letter before action and look up civil procedure rules. If you do that they may stop paying altogether but its maybe heading that way anyway.

1 Like