It is possible to get a company to fill out your N5B. This will cost anything upwards of £300. If you are luckily enough to rent out a property in Mayfair, this could easily be a couple of thousand quid.
Here’s a quick guide to filling out the form and potentially saving you a few hundred quid into the bargain.
Firstly what is a N5B form?
It’s the form that landlords need if they are making a claim for possession of their property (accelerated procedure) (assured shorthold tenancy) in the County Court. It’s the form required following the use of a Section 21 Notice and is for non fault based possession.
Where do I get a N5B form from?
The N5B form is available to download from the HM court service
This is my account of my trials and tribulations of filling out the form and getting it successfully submitted to the county court.
The form itself comes in a downloadable PDF format.
The first question is how many will I need?
You will need a minimum of 3 sets one for the Court, one that is sent to the tenant and one that is returned to you. If you have more tenants then you will need an additional N5B for each of the additional tenants. It’s always advisable when preparing the forms to do a spare copy. Therefore, I’d suggest a minimum of 4.
Now, the question arises on how you create your 4 copies. There are various options. You could hand write all 4 copies of your N5B - probably not advisable unless you want severe wrist cramp. The other option is to print off the PDF and then fill it in by hand and then photo copy. It is also possible to fill the PDF online and then print it 4 times. All are acceptable with the Courts but I would advise doing the latter because it’s the quickest and clearest.
The N5B form itself is not a monster of a form. It has 4 pages that need filling in by the landlord. There is a single back page that gives notes to the defendant (the tenant). The thing that makes it a ‘challenge’ is the numerous sentences and boxes that need crossing out. Remember, this will go before the Judge. They are trained at pin pointing legal inaccuracies and will show no mercy. Get something even slightly wrong and it will be slung out immediately and sent back to you, often without explanation. For you then to work out what bit you have not got right. Filling out the form is all about the detail.
As well as the form you will need an equal number of accompanying documents such as the tenancy agreement (marked A1), the notice seeking possession (marked C), the proof of service (marked C1).
Make sure that you read and follow the Notes for the claimant carefully.
Filling out page 1 of the N5B
Firstly, you’d think that filling in the claimant (landlords) and the Defendant (s) details would be straight forward. Not so. I was told by the court clerk that just putting a name for the landlord and tenant is no longer sufficient. You have to put in reference to their gender ie MR or MISS / MS. There’s your first potential stumbling block over.
At the top and bottom of the form are several boxes. A landlord should fill in these as far as possible although some courts will fill them in for you.
In the top box the address of the County Court should be included. In the bottom box a landlord should input the name and the address of the tenant. In the bottom right hand box right the court fee, currently £150 and any solicitor’s costs together with the total amount.
You will have to decide whether you will ask the court for the defendant to pay the costs. Simple if you have a solicitor or are paying somebody else to do the work. You just put in what you are being charged. However, more difficult if you are under taking the work yourself. There is a convention that you can charge your time out at a third of the rate that a trained solicitor would charge. However, there are issues that a novice landlord will take far longer to prepare the work than an experienced solicitor. There is a danger that the judge throws out the case if they perceive that your costs are unreasonable.
1. This is straight forward in that you just enter the address of the property you are seeking permission of.
2. Question 2 relates to public sector tenancies created by housing trusts and housing associations so it doesn’t concern private landlords
3. Enter in the date of the first tenancy agreement, unless there has been a more recent tenancy agreed. If there has only been one tenancy then you should delete section 6.
4. Question 4 simply confirms that the tenancy was made after 28th February 1997 which almost all tenancies will be now. If more than one tenancy applies then leave the word (first) otherwise cross it out if only one tenancy agreement applies.
5. If Question 4 is relevant which it will be for most landlords then you will need to cross this out.
6. If there has only been one tenancy at the property then again you can cross out para. 6 if not then just leave it in.
Almost there now!
7. This is important as you will need to enter in the date that notice was given to your tenant in your section 21 notice.
A copy of the section 21 notice must be attached and marked C. Remember you will have to say who the notice was served by and documentary proof of service (e.g. witness statement or receipt of recorded delivery)
Remember you will need to get your dates right.
If your property is not a HMO then you will have to delete the relevant section.
Note section 7 (d) which is there to ensure if a deposit has been taken that you have used one of the approved schemes under the Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS).
8. Section 8 is there for you to add any information that the judge needs to take account of. Remember that according to section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 “a court shall make an order for possession of a dwelling-house let on an assured shorthold tenancy which is a periodic tenancy if the court is satisfied” on the two grounds that notice was correctly given and 6 months has elapsed.
So don’t feel that you need to launch into a diatribe about how terrible the tenants were. You are just wasting your ink and the courts time.