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Possession Proceedings by Landlords

Possession proceedings under assured shorthold tenancies

This information relates to assured shorthold tenancies created under the Housing Acts 1988 & 1996.  For any other tenancies landlords are advised to seek specialist legal advice.

A landlord must obtain a court order for possession if the tenant will not leave the landlord’s residential investment property voluntarily.

When is a court order not required?

The only exception to not requiring a court order is for excluded licences.  The circumstances where this applies are as follows:

If, before the tenancy was granted, the landlord/licensor occupied the property as his only or main home and under the terms of the tenancy or licence, the occupier now shares accommodation with the landlord/licensor.

The occupier shares accommodation with a member or members of the landlord’s family and the following conditions are also fulfilled:
a) the landlord’s /licensor’s home is in the same building (excluding purpose built blocks of flats)
b) a member of the landlord’s family shares accommodation with the tenant/licensee (family is widely defined to include spouses, children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces)

The occupier has failed to vacate a property let for the purposes of a holiday

The accommodation is available rent free to the tenant

A tenancy or licence was given to a squatter or trespasser as a temporary measure

The accommodation is in a residential hostel

Possession in general

The landlord must issue the court papers at the County Court covering the area where the property is located.  If the landlord is unsure which one this is it is always best for them to check, otherwise this could delay proceedings.

The landlord will need a minimum of 3 sets of papers if there is one tenant and one extra set for each additional tenant.

The landlord should send all sets of papers to the County Court.  The County Court will serve the papers on the tenant.

The Court fee (July 2011) is £175 and the cheque is payable to HMCS.. The landlord can write one court form in black ink and copy it.

Carrying out an online application for possession

It is also possible to conduct the whole process online through the Governments’ court service possession claims service but only where it is in respect to the non payment of rent

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