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Rental Reposession

Rental Reposession

SKU: 5.27
  • Advice

    Landlords may wish to evict a tenant, however tenants have a legal right of occupation so they need to follow a set procedure:-

    • Serve the correct notice on the tenant;
    • Issue court proceedings; and
    • Obtained a court order.



    Before taking steps to recover possession of your property, you should consider discussing the problem with your tenant, either directly or through a mediation service, and try to resolve these without recourse to court action. The court will expect and insist that you undertake to resolve the matter before involving the court. This could save you time and money. Seeking possession through the courts should only be used if and when you have tried all other means, in addition, it can be expensive and time-consuming.


    Anti-social Behaviour

    In some circumstances, you may need to act because your tenants are committing anti-social behaviour. This could be minor disruptive behaviour, or it could be serious and/or criminal. Whilst possession action is one method of resolving such issues, there are alternative courses of action that you may wish to consider before, or instead of, serving a notice. The police, local authorities and other local agencies have a range of flexible tools and powers that they can use to respond quickly and effectively to anti-social behaviour.


    These include:

    • Civil Injunctions;
    • Community Protection Notices;
    • A Closure Power; and
    • Criminal Behaviour Orders. 


    Serving a notice seeking or requiring possession

    Tenancies can be brought to an end by either serving a Section 21 or a Section 8 notice under the Housing Act 1988, specifying the date by which you would like your tenant to leave your property. You can serve the notice in person to the tenant, by posting to them (strongly suggest recorded delivery) or by leaving the notice at the property. You will need to provide a copy of the notice to the court as part of your application for possession (you should retain a reference copy of the document for yourself). Take the copy once you have completed, signed and dated the notice.


    A section 21 notice

    These are used to ask your assured shorthold tenants to leave your property when they have a rolling tenancy term. For example, on a month by month or week by week basis, known as a periodic tenancy. No reasons or grounds are required, but you will need to demonstrate that you gave certain information to your tenant and that they hold a relevant licence if required. To issue a Section 21 notice, you must fill in Form 6A. 


    A Section 8 notice:

    You need to specify on the notice the specific grounds you are using to seek possession of your property. This can be mandatory grounds or discretionary grounds.

    Mandatory grounds include:

    • Owner occupation (prior notice ground)
    • Repossession by the lender (prior notice ground)
    • Out of season holiday let (prior notice ground)
    • Let to students by educational institutions (prior notice ground)
    • Minister of religion (prior notice ground)
    • Redevelopment
    • Death of assured tenant
    • Antisocial behaviour
    • No right to rent
    • Serious rent arrears


    Discretionary ground include:

    • Suitable alternative accommodation
    • Rent arrears
    • Breach of tenancy obligation
    • Deterioration in the condition of the property, common parts or furniture
    • Nuisance, annoyance, the illegal or immoral use of the property
    • Domestic violence
    • Offence during a riot

    Issuing court proceedings

    If your tenant does not leave by the date specified in the notice, you can apply to the court for a Possession Order. The tenant can submit a defence explaining why they believe the order should not be made, put forward a counterclaim, or ask for extra time to vacate. If a defence is received, the court will send you a copy.

    You can start the process online or via paper copy by using the courts online service or by filing in the standard possession claim form (N5) and the Particulars of Claim Form (N119).

    You can use these methods for:

    • section 8 notices on grounds other than rent arrears e.g., anti-social behaviour;
    • section 8 notice on rent arrears grounds but do not have access to or do not wish to use online facilities, or
    • section 21 notice but the tenant owes you rent, and you want the court to order possession and make a money order at the same time.


    Possession Order

    You can apply for an accelerated possession order if your tenants have not left by the date specified in your Section 21 notice and you’re not claiming rent arrears, if you have used the standard possession procedure, you will receive communication providing the date of the review and the date of the substantive possession hearing. You will be allocated a review date at least 28 days before the possession hearing. At the possession hearing, a judge will decide whether to make a possession order or give other case management directions. The judge can make the following kinds of possession orders:

    • Outright possession order
      • This requires your tenant to leave your property by a date specified in the order (usually 2 to 4 weeks) but the judge can allow up to 6 weeks if the tenant would suffer extreme hardship.
    • Suspended and postponed orders for possession
      • This specifies a date for possession, but it also sets out conditions that your tenant is required to abide by. So long as your tenant keeps to the conditions, you will not be able to enforce the possession order. If your tenant breaches the conditions, you can request the court to issue a ‘warrant for possession’ and the court bailiff will then arrange to carry out an eviction.
    • Possession orders with a money judgment
      • A judge can add a money judgment to any of the possession orders. This means your tenant owes a specific amount of money, usually made up of the rent arrears, court fees and your legal costs.

    Warrants and bailiffs

    If a Possession Order was granted and your tenant does not leave by the date specified in the order, you can apply to the court for a Warrant of Possession. The tenant can apply to suspend the Warrant.


    How we can help

    Lestons can assist with the documents needed for the repossession process or liaise with your tenants to find a workable remedy. To gain our assistance simply click on the link at the top of the page, activated by the link at the top of the page, should you wish to start a case the caseworker will send you the suitable payment link. Please note your caseworker can only give generic advice, their role is to prepare your details for handling by our legal team and to act as your point of contact.


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