Purchasing a property and renting it out is considered by many as a sound investment, giving both monthly income and capital growth. However, a problematic tenant can often turn the investment dream into a nightmare and getting unwanted tenants out of a property is not always straightforward.

In a recent case a private landlord owned an investment property that was leased to two individuals. The landlord initially had no problems with rent being paid on time. However, delays became more common and rent was outstanding for longer on each occasion. After two months of non-payment, the landlord understandably lost patience and sought advice from our Housing team.

Following consultation with the landlord, we served the relevant Notice for eviction and the recovery of rent arrears. This is a necessary first step which must be completed before court action can be taken. This Notice expired, putting the landlord in a position where he could begin court proceedings to evict the tenants. However, the tenants promised to vacate the property voluntarily and, given this development, the landlord provided the tenants with a further three weeks to move.

The promises to move were broken and the agreed deadlines passed. At this stage, in order to protect our client, we raised court proceedings and prepared for service on the tenants. The court fixed a calling date about three months away.

In the interim, the landlord still continued to try to reach an amicable solution and even assisted the tenants in moving their furniture to a new property. Following the move, the landlord attended the property which he expected to find vacated. Unfortunately, he found that the property was inhabited by the tenants and various other unknown individuals. The landlord was highly suspicious of the activity going on and he was physically threatened by the occupants and forced to leave.

Upon this development we immediately made further enquiries with local contacts and sheriff officers. We managed to establish that the tenants had recently become known to authorities as drug users and dealers.

Given the seriousness of the situation and wanting to protect our client’s interests, we then endeavoured to speed up the court action. We sought and were granted an immediate audience with a Sheriff in chambers. We presented to the Sheriff the new developments relating to the case with regard to the drug dealing and, in an unusual move, he granted vastly accelerated court dates. Within two weeks of the audience with the Sheriff the case was called in court. We appeared on behalf of the landlord and were successful in seeking a judgement for eviction and payment of the arrears along with expenses.

By preparing for the worst-case scenario, while also allowing for a better scenario, we were able to achieve the best possible outcome for the client. Had the tenants moved of their own accord, the client could have avoided the time and cost associated with court proceedings. However, as was the case, when the tenants failed to cooperate we took all possible steps to accelerate proceedings.