IMPORTANT UPDATE - View our policy and actions in response to the COVID-19 outbreakREAD MORE

Helpful Advice

What Happens when your Tenant Won’t Move out?

What Happens when your Tenant Won’t Move out?

By Peter Barry

As a landlord, you might assume that because you and your tenant have signed a contract, that this will protect you against a situation whereby a tenant refuses to leave your property. However, in terms of the law, you can’t force someone to leave and the onus is on you to issue court proceedings when it comes to regaining a property from someone who doesn’t want to move.

There are many reasons why a tenant might refuse to leave, despite being give the correct notice period and signing a contract accepting these terms when they took on tenancy of your property. Some of these reasons may well be genuine – hence the law insisting that you go through the correct channels – but some canny tenants will use their rights to their advantage and stay until the very last second, when the bailiffs are due to come round.

Hard times

For example, if financial reasons mean that a tenant needs to be re-housed by the local council, they will in fact be advised to stay in situ until new accommodation can be arranged. If they leave your property, they have essentially chosen to become homeless so there’s little incentive to pack their bags. This doesn’t help you, as a landlord, as you will need to get a possession order before the council will find alternative accommodation as a matter of urgency.

Don’t delay

If your tenant has made it clear – either by telling you or simply not vacating the property on the given date – that they have no intention of moving out, then you should begin the formalities as soon as possible. Your tenant will probably be aware that time is on their side whilst you seek a possession order but if they know that this is the course of action you intend to take, it will show you’re taking the situation seriously and it might spur them on look for a new property. Whatever you do, always act professionally and courteously: never give your tenant cause to accuse you of harassment. Go through the right channels and eventually the situation will be resolved.

Unfortunately, as a landlord, you will come across good and difficult tenants – it’s par for the course and you simply need to deal with each situation as it arises.