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Evicting Tenants With a Possession Order

It goes without saying that eviction is often the last resort of any landlord. Although possession orders empower property owners to remove problem tenants from their rental, the desired result only comes after a costly and time-consuming process; leaving landlords somewhat powerless in the meantime.  

Naturally landlords should be able to take control of their property investment, with eviction commonly being resorted to after the occupants of the rental breached the terms of the tenancy agreement, causing substantial damage or neglecting to pay their rent, allowing arrears to mount.  

What happens when you get a possession order? PropertyLoop

What Is a Section 21 Eviction?

Section 21 notice has come under widespread criticism in recent times thanks to its claimed contribution to homelessness during the COVID outbreak. This is largely because when serving section 21 notice to a tenant the landlord is under no obligation to state why they are eviting the tenant, earing the order the moniker of the “no fault eviction”.  

However, this is far from a malicious move by the landlord, as owners are not required to justify the eviction as a section 21 notice simply states that the landlord wished to reclaim possession of the rental property once the fixed term has come to a close.    

With this being said there are still stringent requirements for a section 21 notice to be executed. The landlord must have ensured the tenant’s security deposit was entered into a government-backed deposit protection scheme, providing details to the tenants within 30 days of the sums being paid. Further to this, the landlord must have not been served with an improvement notice by the local authority after failing to do repairs within the last six months, in order to prevent retaliatory evictions.  Additionally, the occupants must have been provided with the necessary documentation when moving into the property, comprising the EPC, gas and electrical safety certificate, and the government’s “how to rent guide”. 

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What Is a Section 8 Notice?

Landlords are likely to issue the occupants of the rental property with a section 8 notice if they have been found to be in breach of the tenancy agreement.  Unlike a section 21 notice, when serving the tenant with the possession order the landlord must detail the grounds on which they are moving for eviction. These grounds will cover the stipulations of the tenancy agreement, perhaps most commonly, paying rent. During the court proceedings, the landlord must then sufficiently prove that the tenant has fulfilled these grounds, making eviction appropriate.  

The amount of notice a landlord is required to provide a tenant with is dictated by the grounds on which the eviction is based, seeing the appropriate notice period vary between two months and 24 hours based on the severity of the tenant’s actions. In a further distinction to a section 21 notice, a section 8 notice can be served during the fixed term of the tenancy.  

How does a possession order work? PropertyLoop

Who Pays Court Costs for an Eviction?

The eviction process is somewhat synonymous with the costly procedure, putting some landlords off dealing with problem tenants sooner, instead choosing to let the tenancy draw to a natural close. However, landlords are able to potentially recuperate the costs of bringing court proceedings against a tenant. Owners can claim for the initial court fees directly through the courts, with further legal expenses being covered through a term in the tenancy agreement. This would require the landlord to first provide the courts with a breakdown of the costs they have incurred trying to reclaim possession of the property, allowing the courts to decide a reasonable sum for the tenant to repay the landlord.  

It is also worth noting that in some instances landlords are able to take out insurance that will cover the legal expenses associated with taking a tenant to court for rent arrears and eviction. Typically, these policies will not cover the landlord for any rent arrears accumulated during this period, instead paying the legal costs up to an established threshold.  

Can You Appeal a Possession Order?

In order to lodge an appeal against a possession order, the tenant must make the application within 21 days of the initial possession order being issued. The occupant of the property can make an appeal to the judge presiding over the possession hearing, or alternatively, they are able to make an application to the court of appeals. For the appeal to be taken further the tenant must provide the courts with supplementary documentation such as the original possession order and a transcript of the court hearing in which it was issued.   

How Long Is a Possession Order Enforceable For?

If after the notice period the occupants of the rental property have refused to vacate and allow the owner to regain possession the landlord is able to start possession proceedings against the tenants. However, the landlord must do so within 12 months of serving the occupants with the notice as it will expire, meaning they will have to serve their tenants will another notice. 

How Long Do Bailiffs Take To Evict a Tenant?

If the tenant has failed to vacate the property by the due date the landlord is able to appeal to the courts for bailiffs to enforce the eviction and reclaim the rental property for the landlord. Before taking any action to evict the occupants of the property, bailiffs are legally required to provide the tenants with at least two weeks’ notice.  

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