More than ever it is becoming difficult to collect rents from tenants and an increase in evictions points to the market being as difficult as ever.

All too often there is a story in the paper of someone’s plight in being evicted from their rented home, but in most cases there are huge rent arrears.

As a private landlord, is it right that we are expected to simply carry these tenants financially and indefinitely with no recourse to them? Surely, the principle is the same as any private home owner when taking out a mortgage – if you don’t keep up your repayments, your home may be repossessed.

The number of tenants in England and Wales forcibly evicted from their homes last year after court action reached a record high.

Some 37,739 private and public sector tenants had their homes repossessed by court bailiffs in 2013, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice. That is the highest number since records began in the year 2000.

On the other hand, the picture for those who own their own home is more positive, according to separate figures also published on Thursday, with low interest rates keeping mortgage costs down.

Banks and building societies reported that 28,900 homeowners had their property repossessed in 2013, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said –  5,000 lower than in 2012 and the lowest annual figure since 2007.

If people want to stay in their homes when faced with eviction, they need to act quickly. Rent payments should be the top priority and other debts, such as credit cards or phone bills, should be negotiated later. One thing to most definitely avoid is the temptation of a payday loan as this can make the situation worse if repayments to the payday loan company cannot be met.

At Abacus, our litigation team has specialists in helping landlords take back possession of their properties and will explain that the eviction process is not as straightforward as it is made out to be…Gareth Jones, our Head of Litigation says:

“Depriving someone of their home is a very serious matter and landlords are expected to follow the correct procedure. A judge will expect you to have perfect paperwork, and are more often than not unforgiving if mistakes are made. Should a landlord lose his claim, he may even be ordered to pay his tenants legal costs.

As a Landlord you are only entitled to bring court proceedings to evict your tenant if you have served the proper possession notice and the notice period has expired.

It is a criminal offence to evict a tenant other than by obtaining a court order for possession in the County Court, and then if the tenant still fails to vacate, by using the County Court bailiffs. Even asking them to leave if you have not followed the proper procedure can be considered harassment.

If you are looking to repossess from your tenant because of rent arrears, you should consider whether there is any alternative before taking action.

It is important that possession notices are correctly drafted and the correct notice period is given. Otherwise they could be invalid and you could lose your possession claim at court.”

If you have a tenant who has stopped paying rent and need assistance with rent recovery or you would like to begin the eviction process, call Gareth Jones at Abacus Solicitors on 0161 833 0044 or email: