Helpful Tips Tenancy Management

Forum Spotlight: Gaining possession when tenant has gone to prison

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

A landlord posted on our Forum recently with a complex question relating to how he could gain possession of his property as his tenant had gone to prison.

The landlord said that the tenant had been sent to prison for a minimum of three months, and as well as this he is also in excess of eight weeks in rent arrears. This landlord wanted to know whether, because the tenant had gone to prison, the tenancy agreement was still valid, or whether he needed to serve a Section 8 notice in order to gain possession of the property.

He also wanted to know, if he did have to serve a Section 8 notice of possession, how he would go about doing this. For example, would he be required to serve the notice at the property where he has the tenancy or through the prison service.

He was keen to hear the response from our Landlord Advice Team about what he should do next. Check out the response for our advisor below, and you can read the original forum thread on our Forum here. 

Response from our Landlord Advice Team

An advisor in our Landlord Advice Team was happy to help this member out with their question. As this is quite a complex matter, you can see the step by step answer to this question here:

Step One 

Firstly, this landlord is advised that the best thing for them to do is to serve notice on the tenant in question. This can be either a Section 8 or a Section 21 notice, sent to the tenant at the last known address, as this is lawfully acceptable.

Step Two

The advisor suggested that best practice for this landlord would also be for this landlord to send a copy of the notice(s) to either the prison where the tenant is (if this is known).

Alternatively, it should be sent to the probation office that is located nearest to the property that the landlord is trying to get possession of and send a copy to that address to the attention of the Probation officer (Name of tenant) directory here.

By sending copy of the notice to the Prison / Probation, the landlord is reducing chances of the tenant putting an Application to suspend the Eviction in the future and delaying the eviction.

In regards to using ground 8 7A, there are first a number of things that the landlord must consider to make sure this is suitable to use.  For the full list, please see the original forum post. 

Learn more
  • The RLA offer course for landlord and letting agents on Gaining Possession, with upcoming dates in Manchester, London, Leeds, Preston and Birmingham. This course is delivered by a successful landlord who for 11yrs has successfully self-managed her own portfolio and now runs her own letting agency. Book your place here.

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

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