3rd February 2018
Q: My tenant wants to end his tenancy agreement. However, he has only just informed me that he allowed his wife to move back into the property nine months ago. The tenancy agreement has always been in his name. He lived there on his own for years prior to this. His wife doesn’t want to go, but I don’t want her there, as I now want to sell. What should I do?
A: The long and short of it is you cannot stop your tenant’s wife living at the property with him. From what you say the tenancy is still in the sole name of the husband. You cannot evict the wife on her own, all you can do is get a possession order against the husband which will be effective against the wife too (but she will not be named on it). First of all, make it clear to the husband that the tenancy cannot be ended while the wife is living there and you are not prepared to accept a surrender of the tenancy unless he is able to give you vacant possession. Then you need to serve a Section 21 Notice.
The Section 21 Notice should be in the name of the husband as he is the tenant, but there is no harm in sending a copy to the wife saying that she is not named in the notice as she is not a tenant but that when the court order is made she will be required to leave also.
I would also recommend that you use the accelerated procedure for possession, there is no place on the forms to name occupiers who are not named tenants, so she will not be included in the proceedings.
You may want to serve a set of papers on her too, so she knows what is going on. It is possible that the wife may apply to be joined into the proceedings, but that is up to her. Even if she decides to, she won’t have any special defence to the claim. All it will mean is that she would be named on the possession order.
Once the court order is made, if the wife refuses to vacate, I would recommend that you instruct the court bailiffs, who have authority to evict whoever they find at the property. So, she will have to leave at that stage, whether she is named on the court order or not.
If you are having issues like this and need some advice, please do give me a call.