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POSSESSION ORDERS

Absolute order for possession

An absolute order will be made where the landlord proves grounds for possession or in the case of an Section 21(accelerated possession) order, the judge is satisfied that the Section 21 Notice is correct and the serving of the notice was done properly.

A free Section 21 Notice is availiable for users to download.

The tenant must then vacate the rental property on the date specified. 

For example, for an assured shorthold tenancy, providing the landlord has served the necessary notices and it is 6 months after the original tenancy began, the court has no choice but to make an order for possession requiring the tenant to vacate 14 days after the date of the hearing.

The only discretion the court has, is to postpone the date by a maximum of 42 days if the tenant can prove exceptional hardship will be caused otherwise.

Suspended order for possession

These orders are most often made in cases of rent arrears.  If a landlord can only prove a discretionary round 10;  that is,  the tenant's rent is behind, but not the 2 months in arrears required for the mandatory ground 8.  In this case the court may make an order for possession but suspend it if the tenant meets certain conditions.  District judges are very sympathetic to tenants who experience problems due for example to failure of the local authority to pay housing benefit, or where the tenant has experienced some short term financial difficulties.

In the case of rent arrears the tenant may agree to pay the rent plus a specified amount each week to pay off the arrears, in which case the court are likely to suspend the order for possession.  If the tenant then defaults on these conditions, the landlord can then apply to the court for the order to be made absolute or for a warrant of possession to be issued.  There is no requirement for the court to grant this and they may decide instead to suspend the order for possession.  This lack of clarity and potential extended time period is why a landlord should always seek possession on a mandatory rather than a discretionary ground where this is possible.

Adjournment of possession proceedings

In circumstances where a landlord is relying upon discretion rather than mandatory grounds for possession, a court may decide that the tenants conduct has not caused a serious breach of the tenancy agreement and not to grant an order for possession.  They may simply adjourn the proceedings either indefinitely or to a later date, subject to certain terms or conditions.

In cases of rent arrears this may be an alternative to a suspended possession.

However, if the tenant defaults on the agreement, the landlord will have to re-apply to the court for a possession order.  The court may either make a suspended or absolute possession order depending on the seriousness of the case and the tenant’s circumstances.

Dismissed proceedings for possession

If the landlord fails in his claim for possession (e.g. he has not served the correct notices, they are incorrectly completed, or he has failed to supply documentation in support of his claim) the landlords proceedings may be dismissed.  The tenant may then apply for an order for costs against the landlord.

Counter-claim by the tenant against the landlord

If the tenant has counter claimed against the landlord (e.g. failure to repair the property or harassment) and succeeds an order for damages may be awarded against the landlord. Landlords should note that as from 26 April 1999 the limit of claims for housing disrepair has been reduced to £1000.

Legal costs incurred in possession proceedings

Responsibility for the legal costs incurred in possession proceedings is always a mater for the court’s discretion.  If a possession order is made against the tenant, the tenant may be ordered to pay some or all of the landlord’s legal costs in bringing the proceedings.  If the landlord fails and the tenant has incurred legal costs there may be an order for costs against the landlord.  The successful party at the hearing will normally make an application for costs as appropriate.

If you need additional information please post your questions to our free landlord legal forum.

STILL CONFUSED - GET EXPERT LEGAL ADVICE

 

Comments (6)

Possession order
We have a property that has been rented for 3 years, the renter has built up over £2000 in rent arrears, about 6 months ago he got housing benefit but this doesn't cover the monthly payment. we served a section 21 which runs out on the 25th Aug and the concil have told us he won't be offered a council property in time. What is the next move and how long will it take???
#1 - Julie Chaplin - 08/01/2012 - 13:04
possession order
hi, i have a possession order granted from the courts that has said that my tenants have to be out of the property by 20th February. I have now received a letter from the citizens advice service on the tenants behalf stating that i now need to get an eviction order as the tenant has nowhere to go but is actively seeking to move. is this correct or should move out as instructed by the judge ?
#2 - Paul Carey - 02/22/2013 - 17:38
I urgently require advice if possible in regards to a property that was rented from the 17th November 2013.

I turned up to my property on the 8th April 2013 and saw that Bailiffs had bolted the doors/windows and was unable to gain access. This is because the landlord is behind on his mortgage payments. I rent this property through an estate agents. I had to ring the Bailiffs to gain access to the property to obtain personal belongings, however the furniture is still there. I am unable to gain access to get this back as the company are stating they don't know who it belongs to even though I sent them an inventory checklist.



I am emailing yourselves as I need to find what my rights are as a tenant due to the fact no notice has come from the courts. I only recieved two letter from Asset Managements solicotors who were seeking posession. My estate agent said he was not aware of the situation either. Can you advise what rights I have as a tenant, can I get my deposit back? my contract ends 17th May 2013. I don't want to pay the finaly month as I am unable to live there due to the property being bolted up. No notice from the court has been received, It also seems the Asset Management have organised there own Bailiffs before going through the county court process.

My landlord has been ignoring my clls, my estate agent said I am still bound to the contract, but I feel this is unreasonable as I was not made aware of the situation, I have not got a place to live, I cannot gain access back to the property to collect my furniture. I feel it is unfair that I don't get my deposit back from the DPS straight away and feel it would be unfair that I have to pay the final months rent if I am unable to stay. I just want to collect my belongings and leave the property for good with regards to all the stress I have had with this.


Many thanks for your assistance
#3 - Sonny Singh - 04/16/2013 - 14:33
POSSESSION ORDER
We served our tennent a Notice for eviction and received a letter from the Council stating that we have to get a Court Order to remove the tennat from the property.

How do I go about getting a Court Order for possesion of the property.

We are looking to sell the property ASAP.
#4 - KEITH JACKSON - 05/13/2013 - 13:25
Rent arrears and under notice
Tenants as of tomorrow will be 2 months in arrears -they are currently under required notice period of 2 months, as we are planning to move into the property
; they are due to vacate property on 5 May. Advice sought as to next step. Property is under full management of agent.
#5 - C birch - 04/06/2014 - 13:34
Possession
The court gave methe possession of my property last week , but I am assuming that the tenant is still there. I have since been to the court to get bailiffs order to obtain posession. However, I was told that bailiffs order takes over 6 weeks .

Do I still have legalobligation as a landlord towards the tenant in the meantime? The tenant has changed their number several times and has refused access/contact for the past 3 months. What should i do if i have to leave the country on holiday etc?

Thank you.
Tamsin
#6 - Tamsin - 07/27/2014 - 11:33
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LEGISLATION OF LETTING PROPERTY

INTRODUCTION
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TRIBUNALS
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THE LANDS TRIBUNAL
RIGHTS OF LIGHT APPLICATION
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POSSESSION PROCEEDINGS
POSSESSION - SECTION 8 NOTICE
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SECTION 21 TIMETABLE AND PROCESS
N5B POSSESSION
POSSESSION ORDERS
GROUNDS FOR POSSESSION
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