Tenants have the right to privacy and as a landlord you can’t just turn up at any time and demand access to the property. You should have a clause in your tenancy agreement telling your tenant that they should give you access with 24 hours notice but even then, strictly speaking, they don’t have to. However, most tenants are reasonable so it is rare that you will have such an obstinate tenant.
It follows that you can’t just turn up one day with a couple of heavies and put the tenant out on the street. This is illegal and you could end up in prison as it is a criminal offence. It is wise to stay within the law and be careful to follow the correct procedure once you have embarked upon a course of action which will hopefully result in you taking back possession of your property. Even the slightest error is likely to result in your possession claim being thrown out by the judge should it ever reach court. This is a disaster, because you could have to go back to square one and serve another notice for possession which could lead to another three months loss of rent. If possible, always back up a Section 8 Notice with a Section 21 Notice in case the wheel falls of with the Section 8 process.
Evicting a tenant is not as difficult as it used to be. It’s a little harder during the fixed term of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (the most common type these days) but after the fixed term is up and you enter in to what is known as a periodic tenancy, it is simply a matter of serving the correct Notice for Possession; a Section 21 Notice (which is usually enough to get possession back) and then if necessary you can seek an Order for Possession from the court.
A periodic tenancy begins when a fixed tenancy ends. In effect the tenancy agreement becomes a rolling contract with each party able to get out of the contract after giving the requisite notice period (typically one month from the tenant and always two months from the landlord with the notice period commencing on a monthly anniversary date of the tenancy start date (so if the tenancy began on the 9th of a month the notice period must commence on the 9th of a month).
You can serve notice during the first four months of a tenancy but not a Section 21 Notice. You would need to serve a Section 8 Notice which requires you to give grounds for possession. There are 17 grounds for possession given under The Housing Act 1988 (amended 1996). You can serve both notices on a tenant. Say you have served your Section 8 notice at the beginning of month four in the tenancy. This is too early for a Section 21 notice to start but you can still serve it as long as it expires after the last day of the fixed term of the tenancy.
For more details on Section 21 and Section 8 Notices, refer to the guidelines for each in the Document Downloads in your Customer Account Area. Within this area you can also download free copies of these notices.