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If you’re a landlord in the UK who wants to take possession of your property because your tenant hasn’t paid their rent, you should take the repossession route to gain possession of your property. It would not be legally right to enter the property without the consent of your tenant and ask them to leave or change the lock. Because the tenant has the right of occupation under their lease agreement, you must serve them with an eviction notice before filing an application with the court.
In England and Wales, the courts will only allow the landlord to take possession of the property if the specified term of the tenancy has expired and the landlord has given the tenant at least two months’ written notice before initiating court proceedings.
Even if the tenancy agreement has not come to an end, if the tenant breaches any part of the agreement, the landlord may seek repossession. The landlord can rely on any of the grounds 2,8,10,11,12, 13,14,14A, 15 or 17 as applies to assured tenancies.
Before taking any steps to obtain a Possession Order from the Court, the Landlord must first serve a Notice of Intention to Seek Possession. The length of notice necessary depends on the reason for the landlord’s request for a Possession Order.
The notice must be delivered on a particular form that explains the tenants’ rights (Section 8 Notice). A new notice must be served if the proceedings are not initiated within 12 months after the notice is served.
The Coronavirus Act 2020 protected social and private tenants by delaying when landlords can evict tenants. The provisions in the Act increased the notice periods landlords were required to provide to tenants when seeking possession of residential property between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2021. Between 1 June 2021 and 30 September 2021, notice periods were required to be at least four months except in the most serious cases such as egregious rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
From 1 October 2021, all notice periods returned to the pre-pandemic position. This means the minimum period of notice which must be given under section 21 is two months and, where a section 8 notice is relied upon, the minimum notice period will depend on the ground(s) on which possession is sought.
The stay on possession proceedings, which was a separate measure imposed to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, expired on 20 September 2020 and all landlords are now able to progress their possession claims through the courts.
Legislation preventing bailiff enforcement of evictions has also now expired. This measure was in place from 17 November 2020 until 31 May 2021. Orders can now be enforced where the landlord has a valid warrant of possession. However, bailiffs must provide 14 days’ notice of an eviction and have been asked not to carry out an eviction if they are made aware that anyone living in the property has COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.
Court rules are currently in force which requires landlords who are making a possession claim to set out any information they are aware of about how their tenant, or any dependant of their tenant, has been affected by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic (Covid Notice). Where the claim relates to rent arrears, landlords will also need to provide an updated rent account for the previous 2 years in advance of the hearing. Where any of this information is not provided, judges can adjourn proceedings until the requirement to provide it has been met.
In England, new arrangements were put in place from 21 September 2020 to respond to the pandemic. These have now mostly expired except the Covid Notice. However, to respond to coronavirus individual County Courts may have additional procedures in place to manage the flow of cases. Landlords and tenants should follow any instructions provided to them by the court when making or defending a claim for possession.
As detailed above, legislation preventing bailiff enforcement of evictions has now expired. This was in place from 17 November 2020 until 31 May 2021. Therefore, orders can now be enforced where the landlord has a valid warrant of possession. Bailiffs must provide 14 days’ notice of an eviction and have been asked not to carry out an eviction if they are made aware that anyone living in the property has COVID-19 symptoms or is self-isolating.
The landlord may want to end the tenancy early if |
Before you can get a Possession Order from the court to end the tenancy, you must first serve a section 8 notice on the tenant.
No, the landlord can only terminate the tenancy for one of the grounds specified in the Housing Act 1988. There are 17 grounds for terminating tenancies in all, but most landlords want to do so because the tenant has either failed to pay the rent or has damaged the property without repairing it.
Let’s Understand the Grounds to Seek Possession Order |
This is a mandatory ground, and the court must issue a possession order within 14 days (due to the pandemic, this period has been extended by the court until 1st October 2021 in England), if the court is satisfied that the following conditions exist when the notice is served and at the time of the hearing:
Grounds 10 and 11 are also examined for rent arrears, although the court is not required to issue an order. These grounds, however, should always be included as a backup. Ground 10 applies if the rent is owed when the section 8 notice is served and has not been paid by the start of the possession proceedings.
Ground 11 applies when the tenant has been consistently late in paying the rent whether or not he has been actually in arrears.
Ground 13 can be used for repossession if the renter has harmed the property and has not had it repaired. Damage to property under Ground 13 includes any common areas in the building where the tenant’s property is placed to which the tenant has access. If a renter allows someone living with them, such as a sub-tenant, to do so, they will be judged to have damaged the property.
This ground is applied for repossession in England for occupants who are disqualified because of their immigration status.
When the tenant’s rental agreement expires or after the first four months of their occupancy, the landlord does not require a reason or grounds to serve a section 21 notice of eviction on them.
A section 8 notice, on the other hand, is only issued if the tenant breaks the terms of their rental agreement, such as failing to pay rent or indulging in anti-social behaviour. During their term as a renter, this can be served at any time. The landlord will be subjected to legal action as well.
When a court issues a possession order, the renter is required to vacate the property by the specified date. The possession date is usually 14 days after the court issues the order. If the tenant still refuses to leave by that date, the landlord must file Form N325 with the court to get a warrant of possession, and the court will dispatch a bailiff to evict the tenant.
If you already have a possession order and need experts to drive it ahead for you, please speak to our expert team. Our complete residential repossession package takes care of transferring your possession order from the county court to the High Court, as well as carrying out your eviction in strict compliance with the law and all prevailing Regulations. To check that you have an Order in the correct form please contact us before you pay for our service. You can scan a copy of your possession order for us so we can check it for you.
Feel free to contact us to get your process expedited.
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Last updated | 19 July 2023
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