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Accelerated Possession Proceedings

February 16, 2024

As a landlord, one of the most challenging aspects of managing your rental property can be dealing with problematic tenants. While most tenant-landlord relationships are amicable, there may come a time when you need to regain possession of your property due to tenant-related issues such as rent arrears, anti-social behaviour, or lease violations. In such cases, Accelerated Possession Proceedings can be an effective legal route to regain control of your property.

In this article, we, as solicitors, will provide you with a comprehensive guide to Accelerated Possession Proceedings.

What are Accelerated Possession Proceedings?

Accelerated Possession Proceedings allows a landlord to get a court order for the repossession of their property without a court hearing. It is usually used for Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) after the notice period stated in a section 21 notice has ended.

What is a Section 21 Notice?

A Section 21 notice is a legal document used by landlords to let the tenant know that they wish to regain possession of the rental property, typically at the end of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy.

The notice period requires at least two months’ written notice, which allows the tenant time to make alternative housing arrangements.

To issue a valid section 21 notice, landlords must ensure that they have complied with the various legal requirements, including protecting the tenant’s deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme, providing the tenant with certain legal documents, and ensuring that the property meets the required standards.

Starting the Process

The process begins by submitting a claim form together with all of the required documents to the County Court where the property is located. It is essential to ensure that all the paperwork is complete and accurate as errors can lead to delays or even rejection of the claim.

The Court Process

Once your claim is submitted, the court will review the case and issue the claim, giving it a claim number. They will send a copy of the claim to the tenant and give them 14 days to send a defence to court.

The matter is then referred to a Judge. If everything is in order, the court can issue a possession order without a hearing. This is why it is referred to as “Accelerated” – it bypasses the traditional court hearing process.

If the court finds any issues with your claim, it may reject it, and you will need to refile the paperwork with the necessary corrections. Therefore, it is crucial to seek legal advice or assistance to ensure your claim is filed correctly.

If issues are identified before the claim is submitted to court, a different application and process will be necessary.

After the possession order is granted, the tenant is typically given a period to vacate the property voluntarily. This is usually within 14 days from the date of the order, but the tenant can apply to postpone possession by up to 6 weeks if it would cause them ‘exceptional hardship’.

Warrant of Possession

If the tenant does not leave after the date stated in the possession order, you may need to apply for a warrant of possession, which allows bailiffs to physically remove the tenant from the property.

After submitting your application and paying the fee, the court will process the request, but it may take some time depending on the court’s workload.

If approved, the court will issue the warrant of possession which will specify the time and date for the bailiffs to attend the property. At this stage, the tenant should be notified.

On the specified date, county court bailiffs will attend the property to carry out the eviction. The landlord or their agent should also be present with a locksmith to gain entry if necessary and secure the property afterwards.

How can Thomson & Bancks help?

We are here to help landlords with advice on any Landlord & Tenant issue. As specialists in dealing with accelerated possession proceedings and evictions, our lawyers understand it is essential to follow all legal procedures and timelines meticulously throughout this process. This ensures that the eviction is lawful and compliant with the relevant regulations saving you time and reducing the risk of complications.

If you require any further information, don’t hesitate to contact us by calling 01386 562000 or by filling in our online enquiry form.

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