Re-possession on grounds of non payment of rent

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I appreciate that re-possession questions crop up quite frequently, please forgive another one!
I have a situation where a tenant has moved into a property on a six month shorthold agreement, which is not due to end until December. The Tenant is now 4 months in rent arrears having repeatedly said that they have submitted a claim to Housing Benefit. Housing benefit say they have no claim. I begin to wonder why they have not submitted a claim.
The advice from our Agent (somewhat belatedly) is that I should issue a section 21 notice as this is faster and cheaper. They say I can only do this when the tenancy is out of the fixed term. Does this mean that I have to wait 2 months before I can issue the notice, and then have a further 2 month notice period for the notice to expire, or can I issue straight away?
I am also advised that tenants typically challenge a section 21 notice on the grounds of “disrepair”. They have already approached Environmental Health saying the house is in disrepair (which it is not) with a list of spurious problems, without even reporting it to the Agent.
I believe my other option is a section 8 notice on the grounds of rent arrears. My Agent advises me against this on the grounds of time to get to court after the notice has expired, cost and the possibility of a judge not granting possession anyway.
Seems to me that the tenant knows exactly how to milk the system and live rent free, I guess they will then move on to the next unsuspecting Landlord. I have approached the Guarantor, but they say they are not paying the arrears because they cannot afford to!
Looks like I am between a rock and a hard place, my request is for advice on whether a section 21 is more likely to work than a section 8 in this situation.

Any advice gratefully received

03/10/2012 00:00

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