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Possession Proceedings, Possession Orders and Particulars of Claim
Possession Proceedings, Possession Orders and Particulars of Claim are all part and parcel of the landlord-tenant dispute resolution process. In this article, we discuss the legal steps that a landlord can use to remove a tenant from their property during the course of a contractual tenancy period.
Possession Proceedings – An Introduction
If you have been a landlord, there are high chances that you’ve encountered a tenant who’s breached your tenancy agreement in one way or another. In some instances, following up with such a tenant could be a frustrating experience.
No matter how uncooperative your tenant is, you can’t just wake up one day and order them to leave your property. Remember that there’s a tenancy agreement that you need to refer to when you want to end your engagement with the tenant and a number of steps that need to be considered which are discussed below.
Steps To Take in Possession Proceedings
- Analyse the terms of the tenancy contract
- Serve a compliant notice to the tenant
- File Particulars of Claim
- Possession Hearing
- Possession order
Analyse the Terms of the Tenancy Contract
The agreement binding you to the tenant will form the foundation of your efforts to possess your property. It is among the key determinants of the ultimate court ruling. As such, it is crucial that you analyse the content of this crucial document, preferably with the help of our landlord and tenant solicitors.
From an expert analysis of the contract, you’ll identify the basis on which you can file a claim to possess the property successfully. Otherwise, the case is highly likely to be dismissed if the judge doesn’t find reasonable grounds for the tenant eviction, considering the contract at hand.
Serve a Complaint Notice to the Tenant
Depending on the contractual agreement existing between you and your tenant(s), you should serve the tenant with a relevant and compliant notice highlighting your intention to start legal possession proceedings to regain the property they’ve currently rented from you. This must be completed at least two weeks (14 days) before the possession case hearing.
Additionally, the notice needs to inform the tenant of your reasons for wanting back your property and what they should do if they want to resolve the matter without going the court way.
Besides, considering the hardships presented by the COVID 19 global pandemic, the notice should also set out the knowledge that you, the landlord, have concerning the effect of the pandemic on the tenant and (maybe) their dependents.
File a Possession Claim
If the tenant doesn’t meet your pre-court possession settlement requirements, you can then file a possession claim in any county court. However, if convenient with you, it is advisable that you file the claim in a county court that’s nearest to the property in question.
The possession claim should be accompanied by particulars of the claim document (form N119).
What are Particulars of Claim?
In landlord property possession proceedings, “particulars of claim” is a document including the comprehensive details of the claim. To ensure that all the important information is captured, you’re required to fill in the information in a template called Form N11. The information you’ll fill in this form is intended to tell a court your reason (s) for seeking possession of the residential property you’ve rented out.
What is Contained in the Particulars of Claim?
To convince the court that your reason(s) for seeking possession of the residential property is valid and compelling, you need to provide the following crucial details of the claim:
- The full address and the type of the property involved in the possession proceedings
- The names of the person or people in possession of the premises at the moment
- The details of the tenancy. Type of tenancy (assured, assured shorthold), when the tenancy contract commenced, the amount of agreed rent the date of when the rent is supposed to be paid, among other relevant details.
- The ground on which you’re seeking property possession
- The full details of the steps you’ve taken to encourage/remind the tenant to abide by the tenancy contract terms
- The details you know about the financial status of the defendant or any other circumstance relating to the tenant that can support your claim.
- The action you’re asking the court to take (e.g. ask the defendant to give you possession of the premises, pay the unpaid rent and other relevant charges, pay you the cost of making a claim)
- State if you’re asking the court to make a demotion order or buying the right suspension order as an alternative to possession.
- Confirm that the facts you’ve provided on the form are true
Possession hearings take place at a given date once you’ve submitted all the necessary documents and details regarding possession claim processing.
During the hearing, the judge will analyse the evidence presented and will decide on the next course of action. The possible judgement outcomes include:
- Case dismissal- No order is made. So the hearing will end at this stage. This is likely to happen if the correct procedure was not followed or if the tenant has honoured their end of the bargain, or if you or your lawyer didn’t attend the hearing.
- Hearing adjournment- The hearing is pushed forward to a later date.
- Issuance of a possession order.
If the case is dismissed, but you still want to evict the tenant, you can appeal the judgement. Our landlord solicitors can help you prepare for the appeal and take all the necessary steps to maximise your chances of winning the case.
Possession Order UK
If the court judge rules in your favour, they’ll issue a possession order or several types of possession orders that are to be followed by the defendant (the tenant).
Which kind of Possession Orders is the Court Likely to Issue?
Outright Possession Order
An outright possession order instructs the defendant to leave the property before a certain date indicated in the order. In most cases, the date falls on the 14th or 28th day after the date of the court hearing.
In case a tenant does not vacate the said property within the period indicated on the possession order, you, the landlord, can request the court to issue a warrant of possession to evict the tenant.
Suspended Possession Order
A suspended possession order allows the tenant to remain in the property but requires them to make some payments towards the rental debt and perhaps other relevant charges or meet some requirements regarding the rental terms.
Like the outright possession order, a suspended possession order allows the property owner to request the court to evict the tenant in question if they fail to meet the conditions of the order.
Court Money Order
A court money order requires the tenant to pay a certain amount of money. Mostly, the figure depends on the amount the landlord indicated in the particulars of claim. The court has the power to take the necessary action to recover the money from the tenant if they fail to make any payment towards the amount indicated on the order.
Possession Order with a Money Judgement
The court can decide to add an extra payment request on top of a suspended possession order. This extra payment might include mortgage arrears, court fees and any other relevant legal costs. A money judgement is normally applicable in a scenario where a tenant fails to pay the amount stipulated on the previously issued suspended possession order.
Possession Proceedings – Get Expert Advice
Possession proceedings that include possession orders and particulars are a key part of landlord-tenant dispute resolution. However, navigating through the relevant legal process is normally a challenging experience, especially if you’re not a qualified legal expert. Luckily, at Gulbenkian Andonian, we got you covered. Feel free to speak with our friendly and highly experienced landlord and tenant solicitors now for help at any step of the way.
Ask our Expert Legal Team
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Neither Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors ltd, nor their employees, agents, consultants or assignees, accept any liability based on the contents of written articles which are meant for guidance only and not as legal advice. We advise all readers to take professional advice before acting. If you would like to consult with a professional lawyer or solicitor to discuss your case, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.