10:34 AM, 6th May 2014, About 7 years ago 7
If a landlord wants possession of a property held on an assured shorthold tenancy at the end of a fixed term or a periodic tenancy he must serve a valid notice. The tenant must receive it at least 2 months before the expiry of the tenancy (or in accordance with the rent period if longer).
That notice does not amount to a Notice to Quit, and does not require any fault on the part of the tenant. All that service of the notice does is to trigger the right to apply to the court for a possession order. This will be done under the accelerated procedure under CPR 55, and the court must make an order for possession if the notice is validly served.
Courts are very quick to dismiss applications where the precise procedural requirements are not fulfilled, which can be costly in terms of delay in getting the property vacated, as the process will then have to start again. Professional help is a worthwhile investment.
The Court can postpone possession for a limited period on application by the tenant under s.89 of the Housing Act 1980, for 14 days unless exceptional hardship is shown, in which case it is 42 days maximum. After that date has passed possession must then be given up and the property repossessed, with a bailiff if need be.
An underused but very effective route is to apply to the County Court for transfer for enforcement by the High Court. This method can prove more expensive but is often much quicker, and the High Court Sheriff carries the right to recover goods to cover unpaid rent. He will arrive without any need for preliminary notice to the tenant, carry out the eviction, and recover (distrain) goods to the value of unpaid rent or other financial liabilities.
Many landlords have queried the role that local housing authorities play in advising tenants to stay put until the bailiff arrives, despite the existence of orders for possession from the court. This is regrettable in that the local authority seems to be encouraging disobedience to a court order, but in reality there is nothing that can be done to enforce such an order until the bailiff or sheriff turn up. Councils do this in order to keep the tenant off the emergency housing list until the last possible moment, but it does not encourage private sector landlords to rent to LHA tenants as they know they cannot expect support when they want the property back.
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