How to regain possession of your property from a tenantкод для вставки
How to regain possession of your property from a tenant If your tenant stops paying rent, damages the property or its furnishings or causes a nuisance to the neighbours, you may want to get the tenant out and the property back. The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 makes it a criminal offence for any person unlawfully to deprive a tenant of his occupation of the premises. To evict a tenant from the property a landlord must obtain a court order for possession. Illegal eviction is a criminal offence which carries a maximum penalty of a ВЈ5,000 fine or 6 monthsвЂ™imprisonment in the Magistrates Court or an unlimited fine and a custodial sentence of up to 2 years in the Crown Court. It is also a criminal offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 for any person to harass a tenant in such a way that as a result he could be expected to give up his accommodation. How do I get a court order? The information below relates to the most common form of residential tenancy only, known as the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). If you are a private landlord, any tenancy since 28 February 1997 will be an AST unless it specifies otherwise. (If you think that your case concerns a different type of tenancy, then please contact one of our property litigation lawyers for advice on the appropriate procedure.) To obtain a court order a claim must be issued, usually, in the county court nearest the property. Before issuing the claim, however, it is necessary to serve notice of your intention on the tenant. There are two different types of notice under the Housing Act 1988 that enable a landlord to commence possession proceedings: ContinuedвЂ¦ Section 21 вЂ“This notice gives the landlord an automatic right to possession upon expiry of the fixed term of a tenancy and is often served at the start of the tenancy. At least 2 monthsвЂ™written notice must be given. Section 8 вЂ“This notice allows the landlord to seek possession on various grounds (some mandatory and some discretionary) set out in the Housing Act 1988, including rent arrears and anti-social behaviour. It is very important both to prepare the notice correctly and to serve it on the tenant properly. If a mistake is made with the notice, it may prove invalid and delay recovery of possession. In all cases, it is also important to ensure that any deposit has been properly protected. The two basic procedures for bringing a possession claim are known as вЂ�the accelerated procedureвЂ™, which is available where there has been an original written tenancy and a section 21 notice has been served, and вЂ�the standard procedureвЂ™. Which procedure should I use? This will depend upon what you want to achieve and will involve considering your priorities carefully: The Accelerated Procedure Speed of recovery вЂ“ As the name suggests, this should be a quicker route to getting your property back (depending upon when notice is served). There is no hearing involved and, once the claim is started, it should take 6 to 12 weeks to get your possession order. Certainty of outcome вЂ“ The paperwork, including the section 21 notice, must be absolutely correct, or the claim is likely to fail. Provided the paperwork is correct, there will be no defence available even if the tenant has a genuine grievance against you. ContinuedвЂ¦ Rent arrears/damages вЂ“ This procedure will only provide you with a possession order. If you want to seek recovery of rent arrears or damages, then you would need to bring a separate money claim. Costs вЂ“ This procedure should be cheaper because there is no hearing and no opportunity for the tenant to raise a defence. The Standard Procedure Speed of recovery вЂ“ If you have not served a section 21 notice in good time, this route can be quicker. The section 8 notice period can be as little as 2 weeks. On the other hand, this procedure involves a hearing and if the claim is defended then it is likely to take much longer than the accelerated procedure. However, we can help you try to speed up the process in straightforward rent arrears cases by making use of the Possession Claims On-Line service (PCOL). Certainty of outcome вЂ“ The outcome is less certain than the accelerated procedure because the tenant has an opportunity to raise a defence. Rent arrears/damages вЂ“ This procedure enables you to claim rent arrears and any other financial losses at the same time as seeking your possession order. Costs вЂ“ The total costs of this procedure will depend upon how vigorously the claim is defended, or not. It may be no more expensive than bringing a claim for a possession order under the accelerated procedure, together with a separate money claim. Having said that, if you lose the claim, you may be ordered to pay the tenantвЂ™s costs. ContinuedвЂ¦ What if the tenant does not leave by the date ordered? You will need to apply to the court for a warrant of possession and the court bailiffs will make an appointment to evict the tenant. If the tenant applies to stay or suspend the warrant, then there will be a court hearing and a further delay. However, if the possession order has been made pursuant to a section 21 notice or on one of the mandatory grounds under section 8, then the court cannot allow the tenant to stay on for more than 6 weeks in total from the date of the order. April 2012 This information has been prepared by Debenhams Ottaway as a general guide only and does not constitute advice on any specific matter. We recommend that you seek professional advice before taking action. No liability can be accepted by us for any action taken or not taken as a result of this information.