13th May 2017
Each week, we answer a reader’s rental property question, from first-time landlords to experienced owners. Agony Agent, is here to help!
Q: Can I evict my tenants if they lied on the tenancy application / references?
A: To cut a long story short, it’s highly unlikely you will be able to. Here is why:
The Housing Act 1988, as amended by the Housing Act 1996, makes provision for the possession of residential properties let under Assured Shorthold Tenancies; however, a landlord can only bring a residential tenancy to an end by obtaining a court order for possession.
One very useful ground for possession for landlords is via a Section 8 Notice, Ground 17, one of “false statement by tenant”. Ground 17 can be used where it can be proven that a landlord or agent was induced to grant a tenancy by a false statement made knowingly or recklessly by the tenant, or even someone acting on the tenants’ behalf. However, you need to know that possession under Ground 17 is discretionary and the court would take a few things into account before a judge would decide whether or not to evict. These factors include the nature and seriousness of the false statement, and if the statement was the main reason to the granting of the tenancy.
Also, remember that courts tend to be sympathetic to tenants in difficult circumstances and so on discretionary grounds, courts will often make allowances for tenants who are in debt or out of work etc., and may not necessarily award possession, or the judge may delay the possession order for a long period to give the tenant/s more time.
If your tenant lied on your Tenancy Application Form and made false statements that could to be judged to have been unfair, and the main or sole reason for the issuing of a tenancy, and you have proof of this on your tenant’s application, then you probably do have good grounds and good evidence for the granting of a possession order. A completed Tenancy Application Form should normally give you, the landlord, all the evidence you need to use Ground 17 successfully. BUT… like we said, no guarantees however, if they plead debt, out of work, illness etc. …you may be back to square one! The truth is, that I have never yet met a landlord who has managed to evict on Ground 17.
If you are in a situation like this and need some help or a second opinion then please feel free to contact me.