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Possession Claims and Eviction Notices
Most residential tenancies are let on what is known as assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs). A landlord may want to bring an end to a tenant’s AST for various reasons, including:
- Reclaiming the property at the end of the term to sell or live in themselves
- Wanting the tenant to vacate the property due to issues such as rent arrears or anti-social behaviour, so any losses can be recovered
When a tenant will not leave a property of their own accord, a landlord will need to follow the correct procedure for ending a tenancy, which may include issuing proceedings at Court to obtain an order for possession that can be enforced (if necessary) by County Court bailiffs or High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs).
How JMW Can Help
Our experienced residential property litigation solicitors advise landlords on all aspects of obtaining possession, including:
- Providing guidance on the requirements for landlords when granting ASTs
- Ensuring the service of valid notices
- Assisting with issuing claims for possession
- Conducting Court proceedings
Claims for possession are often nuanced, with careful consideration being required as to the individual circumstances of a case when advising a landlord as to the most appropriate route for obtaining possession of a property.
If you have a query with regards to possession claims and eviction notices, please call 0345 872 6666 and one of our real estate litigation solicitors will be happy to discuss this with you. Alternatively, fill in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.
Possessing a Residential Property
In relation to ASTs, the Housing Act 1988 (as amended) provides a landlord with two avenues for possession - section 8 and section 21.
There are numerous differences between the two procedures, although section 8 is often seen as a fault-based grounds for possession (for example, where a landlord relies on the fact that the tenant is in arrears to recover possession), whereas section 21 is perceived as a non-fault-based route to a landlord obtaining possession.
Also regarding section 21, the Deregulation Act 2015 introduced a number of prescribed requirements that must be satisfied in order for a landlord to serve a valid section 21 notice. Examples of these requirements include the landlord giving the tenant a gas safety certificate at the outset of the tenancy and an appropriate version of the ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’.
A landlord should be aware of all the requirements of the route they decide to use.
Serving a Section 21 Notice
We are often instructed by landlords whose tenants have fallen into arrears. In such cases, we often advise landlords to serve notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988; as there is only limited scope for a tenant to raise a defence to the claim for possession, provided a valid notice is served. However, landlords can postpone the date for possession up to a maximum of six weeks if a tenant can demonstrate that it will suffer exceptional hardship.
Also, the order for possession can often be secured without the need to attend a Court hearing.
Serving a Section 8 Notice
Where recovery of rent is anticipated, it may be appropriate to serve notice pursuant to section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. This has certain advantages, such as a shorter two-week notice period (as opposed to the two months required for notice under section 21), but will necessitate a Court hearing to decide the outcome of the claim.
A tenant may also defend the claim under section 8, most commonly raising the issue of disrepair.