Residential Possession Proceedings
If you are owed rent arrears on your residential property, or need your tenants to vacate then you will need to follow the process of obtaining possession.
There are four steps you need to follow to regain possession of your property. You may wish to follow the procedure yourself or you may wish to seek independent legal advice. The four steps are:-
- prepare and personally serve of a notice to end the tenancy agreement
- issue possession proceedings at the county court
- obtain a court order for possession
- obtain possession – eviction of the tenant
Preparation and personal service of a notice
The majority of tenancies are now known as "assured shorthold tenancies". In order to recover possession of your property in these cases you will need to serve a notice on the tenant(s), this will be either:-
- A “fault” notice (section 8 notice), where the tenant(s) are in breach of the terms of the tenancy, for example because of unpaid rent; the tenant(s) have 14 days to leave the property after service, if they don’t then you can issue possession proceedings
- or a “no fault” notice (section 21 notice), which allows landlords to obtain possession after a period of time; the tenant(s) does not need to have breached any terms of the tenancy agreement. This notice must give at least two months notice to the tenant(s) that you require possession
Where do you issue possession proceedings for possession
Where the tenant(s) do not leave your property after giving notice then your next step is to issue a claim for possession in the County Court which is local to the property. For a list of County Courts visit https://www.gov.uk/find-court-tribunal
You can apply for possession of your property online by visiting https://www.gov.uk/possession-claim-online-recover-property
See information below on how to include withn your claim permission to transfer to the High Court for enforcement.
You can apply for either accelerated possession or standard procedure – so what is the difference?
The accelerated possession procedure
If you are applying for possession as you have served a section 21 (no fault) grounds notice, then you can use what is called "the accelerated procedure". Through this procedure you are restricted to possession only; you cannot use this procedure where you have rent arrears for example. After you have issued the claim if the tenant(s) do not defend the claim, the court will consider the matter on paper alone, without the need for a hearing. If the tenant(s) do make application to defend the claim then this may result in a short court hearing.
The standard procedure
You can use the standard procedure to obtain an Order for Possession, for payment of the rent arrears and any disrepair. Once you have issued your claim the court will set a hearing date at which you will need to attend, this date is set by the court. If the tenant(s) do not defend your claim then the court will normally make an Order for Possession at that hearing. If there is a defence then the court will normally adjourn the hearing to a further date for a hearing at which the court will consider your claim and the tenant(s) defence, before making a decision.
Obtaining your Order for possession
Once the court grant you an Order for Possession, the court will specify in the order a date that the tenant(s) must give you possession.
Enforcement of your Possession Order
If your tenant(s) do not leave the property by the date set by the court, or they have not handed back the keys to you, then you may not know whether they have vacated. In these circumstances it will be necessary for you to enforce the Order for Possession.
This is where High Court Enforcement Group can enforce your Possession Order. The normal procedure would be for you to apply to the County Court Bailiff for enforcement, however a number of our clients experience long delays in getting their orders enforced, resulting in loss of rent where they want to get a new tenant in the property.
At High Court Enforcement Group we can assist you with an application where under the Civil Procedure Rules a County Court Judge does have a discretionary power to transfer any proceedings before the County Court to the High Court by virtue of Section 42(2) of the County Court Act 1984. It is this that enables us to enforce your Possession Order using a Writ of Possession.
There are two ways you can make this application:-
In your claim for possession
You can make this application in your original claim form for possession seeking permission to transfer the proceedings to the High Court for enforcement using the powers under Section 42 of the Act, this avoids making an additional application after the Possession Order is granted.
To make the application we suggest that in every Claim Form and Particulars of Claim which is filed with your County Court possession action, permission is sought to allow the transfer of the Order for Possession to the High Court. This can be achieved by mentioning in the application that:
“the claimant makes an application for leave to have the matter transferred to the High Court pursuant to Section 42 of the County Courts Act 1984 for enforcement purposes”
If the district judge allows the case to be transferred to the High Court, then the resulting Order can be transferred to the High Court for enforcement by way of a Writ of Possession. Please note that there is no guarantee the Judge will allow the matter to be transferred, it is at the courts discretion. It is important that the Order is made correctly and the right wording used. If you are owed rent, you can also add a claim for money to the Possession Order, but the original application should have reflected this and it should be included in the Order, you cannot add the amounts outside any Order of Possession.
Once the Court grant the Order for Possession and allow the transfer to the High Court then contact High Court Enforcement Group on 08450 999 666 and we can transfer the order through our transfer up centre and obtain a Writ of Possession which allows us to evict the tenant.
Once you have your Order
If the Court grant the Order for Possession and allow the transfer to the High Court then contact High Court Enforcement Group on 08450 999 666 and we can transfer the Order through our transfer up centre, obtain the Writ of Possession and then make arrangements for eviction of your tenant(s).