Helpful Tips Tenancy Management

Call of the Week: Rent arrears

Call of the week
Landlord Advice
Written by Landlord Advice

This week our advice team were able to help out one of our members who was having difficulties with what steps to take with an issue they were encountering relating to one of their tenancies.

The tenant had originally signed for a 6month Assured Shorthold Tenancy which was now in the periodic stage.

The problem our landlord was having was to do with damage caused by the tenant, and also the fact that this tenant was struggling to pay the rent consistently and had fallen into arrears. There was damage being caused by consistently leaving windows shut when cooking and drying clothes inside of the property, which was leading to damp presenting in the property. The tenant was also in 2 months of rent arrears.

We advised our landlord that they have a number of options here. They could consider section 8 for rent arrears, as the tenant is in 2 months of rent arrears; and provided this is still the case when the court hearing takes place, it is a mandatory reason for eviction. The landlord will also receive a money judgement for the arrears. There is also the possibility of using section 8 for ground 13, for the deterioration of the property, due to the damp which is being caused by the tenant. This is a discretionary ground and it is down to the judge’s decision as to whether the tenant is evicted.

Alternatively, our member can consider section 21. After checking that our member had complied with the relevant legal obligations, such as deposit protection and service of the gas safety certificate, EPC, and how to rent booklet, then we advised them they could serve a section 21 giving at least 2 months’ notice to their tenant. It is a mandatory no-fault eviction which may be more certain to evict their tenant in this case, due to the fact the arrears could be paid off and the damp is already not a 100% certainty of eviction.

After giving our member their options, and explaining what they can expect in terms of the court process should it be required if the tenant does not move out, they decided upon section 21 due to the fact they would rather not attend a court hearing and want to be confident of evicting their tenant.

About the author

Landlord Advice

Landlord Advice

On-demand phone support from our landlord advisors is a big feature of RLA membership and is seen by many of our members as the most important service we offer. You can call the team in total confidence and be assured that the advice you'll receive is friendly, pertinent, up-to-date and practical.

Access to the advice team is FREE for all RLA Members.


  • Oh dear! Once again we only have one side of this issue. I am a landlord but I do believe that this landlord needs to look at her/his property. Why does damp arise when a tenant cooks? Look at the damp course. Don’t blame the tenant. Maybe they (wrongly) believe that they can withhold rent when there is a problem eg damp, but in any case arbitration is better than resorting to the law. Pay to sort out the damp rather than pay lawyers as you will still be left with the damp problem when the next tenant takes over the property.

  • I partly agree with the above comment. However, a few years ago I had the tenant from hell – no payment of rent for 6 months (all sorts of excuses). I had the good fortune if you can call it that to engaging a solicitor at cost to myself – to take the said tenant to court and get her evicted and awarded costs to myself. You try getting the money my friend!! The courts are a joke in this country. She lied on her disclosure pleading poverty but I found out (not telling you how) that she was getting £24.000 a year on benefits. When I told the judge this – he said this was nothing to do with me and wasn’t interested. I’m seriously thinking of selling now albeit several years have past – is it worth all the hassle? At present my tenants have made a real pigs ear of the garden – it looks like a bloomin jungle with all sorts of inappropriate vegetation. I’ll need a bulldozer when I sell!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.