Concealed pregnancy causing HMO concern - can I evict?

Question

I have an HMO, and recently took a married couple on as tenants. I met the husband at the viewing, he told me that they were desperately looking for a property - he had travelled a long way for the viewing and was really relieved to find a suitable property. However, only a week after they moved in, it was announced that the wife was eight months pregnant! I don't want to turf a new family out on the streets but the room is only suitable for a couple, and it's really not fair on my other tenants. What is the procedure to evict them?

Answer

Ah, this is an awkward situation. We've spoken to the wise men at ARLA and they've recommended that your only option in these less than festive circumstances is to serve a section 21 on your tenants - however even if you do this immediately it will still give your tenants two months’ notice, so unfortunately your property could be playing host to the baby for a month or so.

If you have a good relationship with the tenants, it might be wise to speak to them about the situation before you serve the notice, and bring to their attention how unsuitable the property is for a newborn and two adults. Having lived in the space for a few weeks they may be having second thoughts themselves, and be glad of a get out clause. If this is the case, and they agree that the situation isn’t one that can continue, you could issue them with a Deed of Surrender, and let them walk away from the property with no questions asked on either side. This effectively wipes the slate clean, and dissolves the tenancy agreement, and as soon as it is signed you take complete control of your property again.

If all else fails, you will be forced to hang tight. Whatever happens, do make sure you speak personally to your other tenants in the building about the situation too, and make it clear that you are doing all you can to rectify it in order to minimise the impact on them - you don't want this tiny tot leaving you with no tenants!

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