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Eviction for Rent Arrears | Accelerated Possession Order

Vacating tenants can be very a time-consuming process. If you’re a landlord and want your tenants to leave your property, you will have to abide by some strict measures. Not following the legalities, can mean you are guilty of illegally evicting your tenants.

Just at the moment, we are seeing a lot of landlords coming to us for eviction services, and when we review their paperwork it is not precise.  This can lead to a problem in getting to the eviction stage so we are going to ask Charles Stevens of Shergroup Legal to guest blog for us on what he is seeing, and how to fix it.

So as you probably know the procedure you must use as a landlord to remove your tenants will be determined by the type of tenancy agreement.

In England and Wales, since the 15th of January 1989, the majority of tenancies granted will be Assured Shorthold Tenancies.  This type of tenancy allows landlords to manage their tenants by bringing the tenancies to an end when using established court-based processes, one of which is known as an ‘accelerated possession order’.

What is an accelerated possession order and when can it be used?

An accelerated possession order allows landlords to regain possession of their property without having to show that the tenant has breached the terms of their tenancy. In order to use this process, the landlord has to serve a Section 21 notice on the tenant giving them at least 2 months’ notice that they must vacate the property.

The landlord can only use the accelerated possession procedure if:

  • the tenancy must be an assured shorthold tenancy.
  • the tenant hasn’t moved out despite receiving a notice and being given a reasonable notice term of at least 2 months.
  • On the expiry of the section 21 notice period, the tenancy must have been running for at least 6 months.
  • On the expiry of the section 21 notice, the fixed term of the tenancy must have expired.

Is evidence needed for an accelerated possession order?

Yes. To carry out an accelerated possession order, the landlord must complete an application and submit it along with the following evidence to support their case. This includes:

  • A copy of the AST Agreement
  • A copy of the relevant Notice which was served on the Tenant
  • Any documents relating to a licencing scheme of the local authority (, if applicable)
  • Proof that any deposit payment has been held through a licensed deposit scheme which is set up on strict legal requirements and that the tenant has been provided with the prescribed information in relation to the deposit.
  • If the tenancy started before the 27th of February, a copy of any pre-tenancy notice served on the tenant advising them that their tenancy was an assured shorthold tenancy

If the tenancy began after 1st October 2015, additional evidence will need to be submitted including :

  • An up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
  • An up-to-date Gas Safety Certificate
  • An appropriate copy of the “How to Rent Guide,” which is a government document, should have been issued by the landlord at the start of the tenancy

The Accelerated Possession Procedure cannot be used for casual or verbal tenancy agreements.  If the tenancy is based on such an agreement, then a claim for possession will need to be made, and a court hearing will determine the outcome for the parties.

What happens once a landlord applies for an accelerated possession order?

After completing and submitting an application for accelerated section 21 procedure possession, the landlord must submit it to the court along with all relevant evidence. The tenant will receive a copy of the application as well as a copy of a defence form, which they are free to complete if they wish.

The judge will then either:

  • Make an order giving a date upon which the tenant is to give up section 21 procedure possession which is usually around 2 weeks from the date of the order however it could be up to 6 weeks in certain circumstances.
  • Dismiss the case if the notice is found invalid.
  • Decide that a full hearing is necessary and set a hearing date – this will happen where the Tenant is likely to put in a Defence to the claim for section 21 procedure possession

Can The Tenant Defend a Claim for Accelerated Possession?

The answer is yes.  Tenants have a right to put up a Defence against an accelerated possession application through the filing of their Defence documentation.  The court only allows 14 days for the tenant to complete and return the form and Defence will only stand if:

  • The landlord did not give the tenant reasonable notice of eviction
  • The landlord does not have the legal right to use the accelerated possession process – which will include situations in which the Notice which has been served on the Tenant is found to be defective

How long does it take for a tenant to move out?

When a judge issues an accelerated possession order, tenants have 14 or 28 days to vacate the property. If the judge believes there are exceptional or special circumstances, the tenant may be given up to 42 days to vacate the premises.

Tenants are not required to pay rent during the eviction period provided by the accelerated possession order’s terms. If rent is withheld, the landlord can apply to the court for a court order to recover it.

Summing-up

Shergroup Enforcement offers a range of specialist legal and high court enforcement services to enforce possession orders so you can get back possession of your property as quickly as the law allows.

Our “one-stop shop” approach allows us to help you serve Notices in the correct form ensuring that the notices are valid, issue proceedings for possession, and then enforce any resulting possession order in the High Court.  We will always ask the Court for permission to transfer the eventual order for possession to the High Court, using the discretionary power granted to a District Judge under Section 42(2) of the County Courts Act 1984.  Once granted we can apply to the High Court for a Writ of Possession which in turn can save landlords several weeks, or even months in waiting for an eviction date.

To get started send us either your Notices, Tenancy Agreement, and if you have an Order for Possession, to our central hub at [email protected].  We will pass this to one of our expert advisors to review your paperwork and guide you on your options.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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