How to Deal With Nightmare Tenants

Becky The Nightmare Tenant

In my 18 years, I have had 2 nightmare tenants.

My 1st nightmare tenant was my very 1st tenant. My nightmare tenant had more front than Blackpool. We will call this nightmare Becky.

If I am being honest, I was very young at the time and Becky caused me a fair bit of stress. I can even remember listening to ‘Sounds of the Rainforest to calm myself down’.

This wasn’t helped by the fact that I was working away at the time. I know this is a feeble excuse for what I was listening to.

The rent was always late, and she ended up leaving on bad terms. I also had constant complaints from neighbours, and she had to leave. In other words, a nightmare tenant and nightmare neighbour.

Being a nightmare tenant, Becky didn’t want to leave.

I went to the citizens advice and was told to go to the solicitors. I went to the local solicitors and they eventually told me to deal with it myself.

After 8 weeks of trying to get Becky out, I went to black bag her (not proud of it but I had reached my limit). I was literally ready to help her pack and kick her out.

Fortunately, I went to reclaim my property and she had left. What she left was a disgrace and the local smack heads would have probably refused to live there.

Importantly, that was then and this is now. I am all about being legally compliant these days so I will be doing things the right way now and in the future.

The Sections

There are x2 Sections you need to be aware of when getting your property back from a tenant. It is very much dependant on the circumstances as to which one applies.

Until recently, I was only aware of section 21 (Notice of Possession) due to all the negative press. That is until a friend and fellow landlord informed me that I had misunderstood Section 21.

This brings me back to a recent blog about Property Networking.

Section 8 (Notice to Quit)

In this scenario, a tenant has breached their contract and the Landlord has grounds for possession. Breaches include rent arrears, or it could be something else like vandalism.

Be aware that you can only serve Section 8 when the tenant is at least 2 months in arrears.

With legitimate grounds for regaining possession, the notice period can be immediate, 2 weeks or 2 months (the Online Letting Agent). My understanding is that this would be for serious anti-social behaviour.

For more details on the section 8 procedure, visit Landlord Zone, or you can visit

Section 21 Notice (Notice of Possession)

Section 21 can’t be served in the 1st 4 months of a tenancy. The Landlord is now required by Law to give 6-months-notice if they simply want the property back.

A Section 21 notice of possession is a notice to inform the tenant that you wish to recover possession of the property at the end of a fixed-term tenancy (Which).

If you have sufficient grounds to remove a tenant, refer to section 8 for guidance.

My previous thinking was I needed to issue a Section 21 if I had a nightmare tenant. I now know that if I get another Becky, I need to issue her a Section 8.

What should Landlords do about Becky’s

Try not to give it too much thought, as from my experience, most tenants are brilliant.

As long as you play the game, they will play the game. Keep on top of the repairs and legislation and basically keep your end of the bargain.

To prepare for the small possibility of a nightmare tenant, make sure you are prepared. Ensure you know the difference between Section 8 and Section 21.

Finally, get around other Landlords and other investors. This is another example of the importance of your network.


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