Whilst we are not privy to the facts of this case, it highlights the sometimes strained relationship between landlord and tenant where allegations of nuisance are made.

When a landlord receives a complaint that their tenants are causing a nuisance or acting inappropriately they need to investigate the complaint. If they don't they may face prosecution themselves from, say, the local authority. The landlord's risk of prosecution depends on the nature and extent of the behaviour but they should, at least, investigate to see if action should be taken.

Under the Housing Act 1988 the landlord can seek possession of a property if they rely on various grounds. This so called fault based possession is pursued by initially serving a Section 8 Notice. 

Ground 14 can be used in cases of anti-social behaviour committed by the tenant or any other person living with the tenant or visiting the property if that person has been guilty of conduct causing or likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance to a person residing visiting or otherwise engaging in a lawful activity in the locality

Ground 12 can also be used where any obligation of the tenancy (other than one related to the payment of rent) has been broken or not performed. A tenancy agreement may include clauses relating to the tenant's behaviour.

In order to seek possession so as to rely on these grounds a Section 8 notice should be served. That notice provides a time period and date after which possession proceedings can be issued in the County Court by the landlord. 

The time period required if relying on Ground 12 is 2 weeks. If relying on Ground 14 only, proceedings can be brought as soon as the notice has been served. Either way Court proceedings are required so as to obtain a Possession Order. This Order is needed so as to legally be entitled to terminate the tenancy and gain possession. Without that Order, or without the tenant vacating voluntarily, the landlord cannot evict the tenant unless they want to risk criminal and civil claims against them for unlawful eviction.

In the case here the landlord emailed the tenants after receiving further complaints and said "if this continues we will have no choice but to issue a Section 8 notice, which will give you two weeks' notice to vacate". If, after service of the Section 8 notice, the tenants failed to vacate then Court proceedings would need to be issued. 

The Court would then need to decide if the behaviour complained of happened or not and, if so, whether the behaviour was sufficient to warrant a possession order being granted. The Court has a discretion in this respect and, as such, there is no guarantee that the landlord would gain possession even if the actions and behaviour complained of were found to have taken place. 

The extent of the alleged behaviour and the evidence to hand for the landlord would need to be assessed carefully before relying on the same in Court.

If you require assistance in considering an possession claim please contact me.