Breach of Contract: Tenancy Agreement - What Can be Done?

Breach of contract – Tenancy agreement

In England and Wales, a tenancy agreement lays the foundation for the landlord-tenant relationship. It details the obligations and rights of each party. If a tenant breaches this agreement, it can lead to serious legal consequences, including eviction.

Understanding Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST)

Assured shorthold tenancies are the most prevalent form of residential tenancy in the UK, offering statutory rights to landlords and tenants alike. A crucial aspect of ASTs is the legal ability for landlords to reclaim possession of their property under specific conditions, which requires navigating through a structured legal process.

Legal Actions for Breach of Contract/ Tenancy Agreement

When tenants violate their tenancy agreement, landlords have several legal avenues to address the issue. This can include the pursuit of a possession order through the court system. The process typically begins with serving the tenant with either a Section 21 notice or a Section 8 notice.

Section 21 Notice: No-Fault Evictions

The Section 21 notice allows landlords to evict tenants without stating a reason once the fixed term tenancy ends or during a periodic tenancy. Its application, however, is contingent upon the landlord’s adherence to certain legal responsibilities.

Section 8 Notice: Breach of Agreement

For breaches such as non-payment of rent or anti-social behaviour, landlords may serve a Section 8 notice. This notice must clearly state the grounds for eviction and provide a remedy period, leading to court action if the breach is not resolved.

Common Grounds for Eviction (Breach of Contract/Tenancy Agreement

Tenants may be asked to leave the property and not return if a Section 8 Notice is obtained for many different reasons. Some of the most common grounds include:

  • Failure to pay rent: Persistent rent arrears can trigger eviction under Ground 8, highlighting the seriousness of meeting rental obligations.
  • Anti-social behaviour: Tenants displaying anti-social behaviour may face eviction under Ground 14, demonstrating the impact of their actions on the community and the landlord’s property.

Legal Procedures for Eviction

Landlords must strictly adhere to legal protocols when evicting tenants, including properly serving notices and obtaining a court order. Deviation from this process can lead to illegal eviction claims and potential legal repercussions against the landlord.

Fixed-Term vs. Periodic Tenancies

The breach resolution process may vary depending on whether the tenancy is fixed-term or periodic. Understanding the complexities of each tenancy type is essential for landlords when considering eviction proceedings.

The Final Steps: Possession Orders and Eviction

After securing a possession order, tenants are legally obliged to vacate the property. If they fail to do so, landlords can employ bailiffs to enforce the eviction, marking the final step in the legal journey to address a breach of tenancy agreement.

 

FAQs on Breach of Contract: Tenancy Agreement

What initial steps should a landlord take upon discovering a breach of the tenancy agreement?

The landlord should first communicate with the tenant to understand the situation and seek a resolution. If the breach is not remedied, the landlord may then consider serving a formal notice, such as a Section 8 or Section 21 notice, depending on the nature of the breach.

Can a tenant dispute a Section 8 or Section 21 notice?

Yes, tenants can challenge these notices if they believe they have been improperly served, if the grounds are incorrect, or if they feel there has been a procedural error. Disputes are typically resolved in court.

How long does the eviction process take after serving a Section 8 or Section 21 notice?

The timeline can vary significantly based on the court’s schedule, the specifics of the case, and whether the tenant chooses to contest the eviction. It can take several weeks to several months from serving notice to obtaining a possession order.

What happens if a tenant leaves the property owing rent or causing damage?

Landlords can pursue legal action against former tenants for any outstanding rent or for the cost of repairs for damages beyond normal wear and tear. This might involve small claims court or another legal pathway.

Why choose Expert Commercial Law?

Our panel of expert solicitors have many years of experience in a wide range of residential tenancy disputes and can offer cost-effective solutions to suit your needs.

Property disputes can be difficult and time-consuming to resolve on your own. Expert Commercial Law has a panel of property litigation solicitors on hand to provide you with specialist legal advice and assistance.

All of the solicitors on our panel have the experience and expertise required to take on your case. All of our solicitor firms are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and offer a range of funding options for your case.

We are not a firm of solicitors; we have a panel of commercial law solicitors. If you contact us in relation to a commercial law case, we will pass your case on to a panel firm.

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Please note, we are not a firm of solicitors; however, we maintain a panel of trusted and regulated legal experts. If you contact us in relation to a commercial law case, we will pass your case onto a panel firm in return for a fee from our panel firms. We will never charge you for passing on your case to a panel firm. 

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