Recovering possession of a property from a non-paying tenant or even when the tenancy has simply come to an end can be a daunting process for landlords.
Landlord Legal Solutions is a service that can take you through the entire process.
- Step 1 – Solicitors letter before action
- Step 2 – Formal legal notice seeking possession
- Step 3 – Court proceedings
- Step 4 – Eviction
- Step 5 – Enforcement of money judgment
Step 1: Solicitors letter before claim
Get the process up and running with an effective solicitor’s letter.
There is no legal requirement for a letter before claim but a formal solicitor’s letter threatening legal proceedings is often enough to put your tenant back on the right track.
All letters are prepared on Moore Blatch headed paper so the tenant knows you are serious about taking action.
Step 2: Formal legal notice seeking possession
If your tenant has not responded to the letter before claim or if you want to come straight in at this stage, a formal notice seeking possession must be served before possession proceedings can be issued at court.
The notice must comply precisely with the requirements of the Housing Act 1988. There are two different types:
- Notice under section 21 of the Act where the tenancy has come to an end and you want possession back.
- Notice under section 8 of the Act where you want possession because the tenant has breached a term of the lease (e.g. because they haven't paid the rent).
Landlord Legal Solutions makes this process simple for you and guarantees legally enforceable notices.
Step 3: Court proceedings
If your notice has expired but your tenant has not left the property or made good the breach of agreement, you must issue court proceedings to get possession of the property.
It is a criminal offence to try to obtain possession without a court order and using the court bailiff.
There are two types of procedure:
- Accelerated procedure - available where the landlord requires possession only because the tenancy agreement has (or will shortly) come to an end. Provided notice in the correct form has been served and the notice period has expired, the court must give the landlord possession. The process is dealt with on the papers without the need for a court hearing. However, if a defence is filed it is possible that the court may list a hearing.
- Standard procedure - used where the landlord wants possession because the tenant has breached the terms of the agreement. There are some circumstances where the court must give the landlord possession and others where the court has discretion. A court hearing is always required for this procedure.
Whichever procedure you need, our online system will guide you through every step of the process and ensure that the court forms are correctly drafted so that you get your property back in the shortest possible time.
Moore Blatch offers a full representation service if you have to go to court, which is included in the standard procedure fee structure and referral to us legal representation fee.
Step 4: Eviction
If the tenant refuses to leave after you have obtained a possession order, you must use the court bailiff to evict them. It is a criminal offence for the landlord (or an agent) to try to evict a tenant themselves.
Step 5: Enforcement of money judgment
Tenants often leave owing landlords substantial rent arrears and/or causing damage to the property. It’s only worth pursuing enforcement action if you know where the debtor is and whether they have any income or assets to satisfy the judgment.
Our team are experts in tracing tenants and obtaining the information needed to decide what enforcement action to take. Simply complete the questions on the online portal about the debtor and the debt and we will take care of the rest.
If you obtained a money judgment with your possession order you can proceed straight to enforcement. If you don’t already have a money judgment we can obtain one for you against the tenant and/or guarantor.
We will guide you on choosing the most appropriate option to get your money back and as solicitors we can act on your behalf in all the available enforcement methods:
- Seizing goods using High Court Sheriff/ County Court bailiff
- Attachment of earnings
- Charging order (secure your debt against the assets of the debtor) and order for sale
- Third party debt order
Our team can also help you take bankruptcy proceedings against the tenant/ guarantor if appropriate. Time is of the essence. Leave it to us to get your property back using the most appropriate court procedure.