Many landlords are now dealing with the possession process themselves, from serving notice to attending Court for a hearing. With this in mind Rebecca Brough from Fidler & Pepper gives some top tips on how best to prepare for and stand the best chance of getting possession of a rental property.
The majority of cases that actually go forward for a hearing will be possession requested under a Section 8 Notice, namely rent arrears, however, my tips apply to all types of possession, including accelerated possession.
Firstly – make sure that your tenancy is set up correctly – many of the issues affecting a possession order actually arise at the start of the tenancy:-
Check that you have sufficient grounds for possession before serving any Notices.
If there are rent arrears, in order to satisfy the mandatory ground for possession there must be 2 month’s rent arrears at the date you serve the notice and the date you go to court. There is no point serving a notice when there are just 1 month’s rent arrears because you will just have to serve another Notice.
However, if one payment of rent is missed it doesn’t mean you can’t contact you tenant, or even write a letter requesting payment.
Make sure you get this right, if you don’t you won’t get possession. If you are unsure it is best to ask a Solicitor to do it for you, I know this will involve cost, but if you get the notice wrong, a Judge would be making this decision about 8-10 weeks down the line, it is likely that you have not received any rent during this period and you will have lost your court fee. A small investment at this stage could ensure that matters run smoothly later down the line.
Things to remember when serving a notice -
However, if the tenant has to sign for the Notice they may not be in, they may not collect it from the post office, and the notice may never reach them, or if it does it is late and they won’t have had the required time.
If you are going to post your Notice, have a covering letter and keep a copy of this. Also if you are posting the letter you need to add 2 business days on to your Notice period, ie if you have to give 14 days and you are serving the notice on Friday 13 February, it would expire on Tuesday 3 March.
If you serve a Notice by first class post the Court deem it served, even if the tenant did not receive it.
Tip for serving a notice - make a note of how you served the Notice, date and time if hand delivered or date if posted. You will need this information for the Court Forms at a later date.
You will need the following for rent arrears claim:-
i. Tenancy Agreement
ii. Rent statement
iii. Deposit Certificate
iv. Copy of Section 8 Notice and covering letter
v. Certificate of Service (Form N215) stating how the Notice was served
Make sure you can attend the hearing. We have had a number of cases where Agents and friends have attended for absent landlords and the Judge will not grant possession. When making a possession order the Judge has to ensure that the person stood in front of him claiming possession has a greater right than the tenant, he can only do this if you are there. If you can’t personally attend you will need to instruct a Solicitor/Barrister to act on your behalf. A Solicitor/Barrister can attend on your behalf with an Agent and/or friend.
Make sure all your paperwork is together and the Court and the tenant have received copies. .
When asking the Judge for possession, you need to also ask for the following:-
And lastly – good luck - Rebecca Brough of Fidler & Pepper
• Free section 21 notice
• Possession proceedings under an AST
• Grounds for possession by a landlord
• How long does getting possession take – section 21 process
• Possession orders
• Filling out a N5B form seeking possession
FORMS FOR LETTING PROPERTY
FINANCE AND TAX ON RENTAL PROPERTY
RENTAL PROPERTY REGULATIONS
FURNITURE AND FURNISHINGS
HMO (HOUSE IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION)
TENANCY DEPOSIT SCHEME (TDS)
ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATES
COMMUNAL HEATING REGULATIONS
INVESTING IN BTL PROPERTY
A GUIDE FOR NEW LANDLORDS
WHICH PERIOD OF PROPERTY
BUYING OFF PLAN
KNOWING THE RISKS
PROPERTY INVESTMENT CLUBS
MANAGING RENTAL PROPERTY
GIVING NOTICE TO LEAVE
NON - PAYMENT OF RENT
GETTING YOUR MONEY BACK
THE TENANT WONT MOVE OUT
THE TENANT DOES A BUNK
RAISING THE RENT
REDUCING THE RENT
REPAYING THE TENANCY DEPOSIT
FAIR WEAR AND TEAR
MOULD AND CONDENSATION
MAINTENANCE OF A RENTAL PROPERTY
LETTING RENTAL PROPERTY
TEN STEPS TO LETTING
FINDING GOOD TENANTS
ONLINE LETTING AGENTS
WRITING A LETTING ADVERT
FURNISHING A PROPERTY
LETTING AGENT OR DIY
SELECTING A LETTING AGENT
TENANTS ON BENEFITS
LETTING TO STUDENTS
PREPARING AN INVENTORY
RIGHT TO RENT GUIDANCE
TERMS OF A TENANCY
LENGTH OF A TENANCY
RESPONSIBILITY FOR REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE
TENANCIES IN SCOTLAND
LETTING TO TENANTS WITH PETS
LANDLORDS' WATER RESPONSIBILITIES
LEGISLATION OF LETTING PROPERTY
TENANCY DEPOSIT DISPUTES
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
HOUSING ACT APPEAL DISPUTES
THE LANDS TRIBUNAL
RIGHTS OF LIGHT APPLICATION
APPEALS FROM LEASEHOLD VALUATION TRIBUNALS (LVT's)
POSSESSION - SECTION 8 NOTICE
POSSESSION - SECTION 21 NOTICE
SECTION 21 TIMETABLE AND PROCESS
GROUNDS FOR POSSESSION
PREPARING FOR A POSSESSION HEARING
HARASSMENT BY LANDLORDS
RENT DISPUTES BETWEEN LANDLORD & TENANT
FAIR RENT (RAC)
MARKET RENT UNDER AST
LEASEHOLD VALUATION TRIBUNALS
MODIFICATION OF RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS