Tenant not paying and not leaving at end of AST

I hope that someone will be able to assist me please?
My tenants were due to leave at the end of a 2 year tenancy, I spoke with them in January 2021 and said that I wouldn’t be renewing as I would like to sell. They said they were happy with that as they have had an unplanned baby and would be looking for more than a 1 bedroomed flat.
I have been reiterating this at inspections and when I went to the property 2 weeks before they were due to leave on 11th June 2021 with potential estate agents they told me that they had found a new place to rent.
I got a text the day before they were due to vacate to say that they couldn’t move seeing as their mortgage wasn’t ready for them to move? Very confusing as this was the 1st that I had heard about them buying.
Since then I gave them written notice saying that I was going to give them another 4 months notice (COVID) and that I require them to leave by October 11th.
Sadly they haven’t paid their rent since June 11th and are now 3 months in arrears. I have contacted DWP and will now have their rent paid to me directly. However this is only a short term solution, how do I ‘get’ them to vacate?

Please can anyone confirm what happens next? I know that during the pandemic, everything has changed.
Any help appreciated thanks
Ps I did have a text at the end of August from them saying that their ‘mortgage had fallen through’ and that they would get the outstanding rent to me ASAP….

They have tried to get away with not paying rent as they thought they could find a property, move out and let you take the hit. Incredibly dishonest of them.

I would instruct a solicitor to have everything ready on October 11.

The problem is now that the courts are backed up for a long time so it might be worth discussing with your solicitor to get them to surrender the property in return for you forgiving the arrears. Has to be done properly though.

It’s unlikely they were actually buying a property if they are on benefits. Which bank would give them a mortgage - none!

Edit: and sorry to say, but your first mistake was to not give notice in the first place.

Thanks Per, not too sure how many times I have to give them notice.
The DWP have informed me that the arrears will be deducted from them each month all the time they are claiming universal credit. (They were both working until Jan ‘21)
My primary aim is to get them to leave. I’m sure as you have said, it may be a case of enticing them out.
Can you recommend any solicitors? I’ve not had to deal with this before. I have some excellent tenants that have been ‘with me’ for years…
Thanks for your advice and input.

The notice I referred to was the original one where you wanted to market the property for sale. At that point notice should’ve been given and you could’ve gone for eviction in June, saving you potentially 4 months.

I think you should give them notice for rent arrears also, but after October 1st. So you have several grounds.

I don’t have any recommendations re: solicitors. Do you have rent and legal insurance? They might have a list. Otherwise, possibly landlord action. I’ve heard they’re good. Other LLs may have other suggestions.

Firstly, check that your notice is valid, (you can check it here: Section 21 flowchart - Nearly Legal: Housing Law News and Comment).

If so then apply to the courts for a possession order once it expires.

It’s best to wait until they’ve left before trying to recover funds using MCOL, as you won’t know the full extent of the arrears and damage until then. However, if they are on full benefits, don’t expect to recover much money beyond any deposit they’ve given you.

Hi Per,
Ahhh thanks for clarifying. The notice that I have them was by email, text and WhatsApp in January. However I do not think they have any intention of going until they are evicted.

The universal credit that they have been claiming since January includes their full rent. Sad to think that they abusing the system by not paying. Thankfully going forward, while they are there this will be paid.

I’ll have a look at landlord action and my insurance. I’ll look at the requirements for the arrears too.
Thanks for your help, very much appreciated.

I’ve just read your subsequent response and I see you sent the notice by email. Does your tenancy agreement allow for notice to be served this way? If not, then it will be invalid.

Thanks David.
I’ll have a look at the link you’ve sent.

Another sad point is that the lady is claiming the benefit solely. She has told me that since January her partner has moved out. I know when I did an inspection in March he was in the bath when I was there, so definitely pulling wool over someone’s eyes…

Thanks David, I’ve just looked at the AST and no I don’t have any clauses mentioning email. Look like I am starting again with their notice. :pensive:

Wait until October first to serve new notices as the notice periods go back to normal then.

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I think you may need some help with this as getting a s21 notice right and following it through is not straightforward. I would echo Per’s earlier suggestion of appointing a solicitor or specialist eviction company to undertake the work.

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Thanks Per, will do, another couple of days will make no difference to me at this time…

Thanks David, very helpful advice from you and Per….

Might be worth pointing out to them that the council might advise them only to leave when they are evicted, but how likely are the council to re-house them, there’s a huge waiting list in most areas. If they leave with rent arrears, a court order & eviction under their belt then they will find it very hard to rent from another private landlord. It will all be on record. And make sure you pursue them for the arrears so that they have a CCJ as well


To be honest Linda, I have had no communication from them since August 23rd. As much as I have sent them reminders about their arrears etc.
Today is the day that I am serving them the section 8… so fingers crossed!
Thanks Linda, all advice is very welcome and digested!!

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Even in Wales? I thought they had decided to keep it at 6 months on Sep 31st

you have some good advice here above. i served a new section 21 yesterday and e mailed and posted but also sent a text with question relating to the notice so they would reply, that way it makes hard to deny. getting the section21 right is critical.
many on here are strictly legal people which is fine, think about other ways you can light a fire under them, are utilities being paid, are there any matters that need a knock? think it through dont make it too comfortable for them. otherwise be prepared to shell out a few grand on solicitors, to rectify damage from an unhappy tenant and losing several months rent.
think about giving them a bung to get out? if they are homeless councils have to act.
in my experience knowing the law but working around it can give the best results. I have had hundreds of benefits tenants and had to adapt where necessary

Thank you Sidney, I have checked that they are still paying their council tax, I am very grateful for all advice. Thanks to everyone.

As I have said many times, anyone with a CCJ cannot be trusted, I wont touch them.
Some say we should take pity as it might not be their fault, well you rent to them then.!


Recommend signing up for Which Legal as provide advice for landlords and when you should always give notice in writing etc. Cost £9.99 a month.

Good advice as you get to bounce questions off a legal eagle

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