It is wise to look at the pros and cons of choosing the accelerated possession procedure when evicting tenants. It can be a faster option but unfortunately cannot be used in all circumstances.
Landlords will need to serve notice correctly and then obtain a possession order from the court before they can proceed.
To use the accelerated possession procedure, the following must apply:
- The tenant is on an assured shorthold tenancy
- You have given the tenants at least 2 months written notice to quit under section 21 and they have not vacated by the date specified
- The tenant moved into the property after 15th January 1989
- If you took a deposit, it must have been put in one of the government deposit protection schemes
- You are not claiming rent arrears
When you apply to court for accelerated possession, the court will send your tenants a copy of the application and they will have 14 days from the date of receipt to contest it.
A judge will review the application and decide whether or not to grant the possession order without it going to a hearing. Should the tenant challenge the application, the judge may well decide that a court hearing is needed. Once that has taken place, the judge will decide on the possession order.
Should a possession order be awarded, the judge will normally give the tenants up to 28 days to leave the property.
Accelerated possession can be a faster way of recovering your property.
The court fee for standard possession and accelerated possession is currently £355.00.
As you cannot claim for rent arrears and should you wish to try to recover any, you will need to either use the standard possession procedure or make a separate court claim for the arrears. If your tenants are having financial difficulties you may find there is no chance of recouping any of the monies owed!
If your tenants are on a fixed term tenancy, you cannot evict them until the fixed term has ended. On a periodic tenancy, the procedure can only be used after the first six months have passed. So the whole notice period could be longer than two months.
If you make any mistakes with either the section 21 notice or the application to the court, your application will probably be thrown out and you would either have to ask for a hearing or start the process all over again.
It has been known for judges to give tenants up to 6 weeks to leave a property in exceptionally difficult circumstances.
If tenants do not leave after the date provided on the possession order, you will then need to decide what action to take to evict the tenants. You can either use the County Court bailiffs or request leave to use a High Court Enforcement Officer.
You can apply under section 42 of the County Courts Act 1984 for permission to transfer the possession order to the High Court for enforcement by an High Court Enforcement Officer. The best time to apply for permission is when making the initial application for the possession order.
County Court bailiffs will be cheaper however as the courts are very busy, you may find that you wait up to 6 weeks for an appointment for the eviction.
High Court Enforcement Officer’s are usually able to obtain a writ within a few days and carry out the eviction shortly after.
It is always unpleasant to evict tenants however you are running a business and not a charity. So whichever route of possession you decide upon, if you are unsure I would recommend seeking professional advice.
Until next time