Taking Possession Proceedings (when letting your property)

Good advice from our solicitor, Paul Fleming, who can be contacted on 01243 790532 if you need legal assistance:

“If, having given notice, your tenant does not leave, it will be necessary to start court proceedings to obtain possession of the property.  The most straightforward case is where you have given a Section 21 Notice Seeking Possession. Usually, you can use the “Accelerated Possession Procedure”. This means that you issue proceedings in the N5B form, giving details and attaching the relevant documents. The papers are then served by the court on the tenant, who has 14 days to respond to the court.

The more difficult type of procedure is one based solely on a breach of the Tenancy. This will involve court hearings. You should bear in mind that there are 2 types of breach. For one group of breaches, the Court has discretion whether to give possession, but for the other, possession is mandatory. A good example is in relation to rent arrears. If the arrears are less than 2 month’s rent, eviction is discretionary. If however, the rent arrears at the date of service of the notice and at the date of hearing are at least 2 months, then the court must make a possession order.

If you take proceedings for possession based on rent arrears and are successful, then the Court will normally also order the tenant to pay the arrears and contribute to the costs you have incurred. Whether you will be able to collect any money from the tenant is another matter!

Once you have obtained your order for possession, if the tenant does not leave on the due date, you must apply for a Warrant for possession. The Court then fixes a date for the court bailiff to go to the property to physically evict the tenant, should this be necessary. You will need to make arrangements to have a locksmith present in case the locks need to be changed. In many cases however the tenant will leave the property prior to the attendance of the court bailiff”.