We all hope to have a wonderful time when we invest in our HMO. We dream of punctual paying tenants who do not bother us; tenants who only ever have celebrity visitors; and tenants who get along swimmingly with everyone else. But unfortunately, this may not always be the case.
Sometimes, you get one of those nightmare clients who straightaway get into a shouting match with sweet old Mrs. Dobson downstairs. Within a month of their 6-month stay, you already have 3 complaints and Mrs. Dobson is threatening to move out. You know that if you do not get rid of this particular tenant, you will have an empty house with just them as your income. What do you do then?
How to evict bad HMO tenants
The bad news is that thanks to that pesky fixed tenant agreement, your nightmare has a right to live in the HMO until the end of their term. In fact, legally, the only thing you can do is take steps to replace them once that term is over unless they choose to leave before then. But that will not keep the other tenants from getting out of their agreements before time.
Even if you do decide to issue proceedings, it will be 6-8 weeks before your order for possession comes through. Even after that order, the tenants might still refuse to move out which will then require you to get a bailiff’s appointment. Another 6-8 weeks. By then it will be the end of the fixed term anyway and Mrs. Dobson will have since moved out.
Work things out amicably: Of course, the very first thing you should try is to work things out amicably with the problem tenant and everyone else. Explain to them how their behaviour is affecting you and the other tenants. Tell them that in the long run, this will make it almost impossible for them to find an HMO in which to live because you will not be renewing their agreement and you certainly won’t be giving them a glowing reference.
Issue a Section 21 notice
This is a bit of an uphill battle. There are several things with which you as the landlord must comply before you can successfully issue a tenant with a Section 21.
- Your HMO must be in compliance with required energy performance of dwelling houses.
- The conditions of the common parts of the dwelling house must be in compliance with the set requirements.
- You must observe proper health and safety codes for HMOs.
This means that you will be required to always provide your tenants with a Gas Safety Certificate and an EPC before they sign the agreement. If cannot prove that you did so, then you will not be able to issue them with a Section 21 notice.
Honestly speaking your best course of action here is to talk to the problem tenant and maybe entice them with a glowing reference should they choose to leave immediately. If all that fails, then you have to take the legal route.