Possession of Domestic Premises in the County Court

January 10, 2012 |

Often we find Landlords are taken aback when we tell them that the only lawful way of repossessing their property from a tenant who is in arrears of rent is by obtaining an Order from the County Court.

They are even more amazed when we tell them that there will be a hearing before a Judge where they must attend to give formal evidence proving their ownership of the property, the terms of the tenancy, the amount of the arrears and the service of the Notice of Intention to Seek Possession. The Housing Act 1996 has made life a little easier but Landlords often come to us having tried to bring their own possession proceedings and have been unsuccessful. A defect in their Notice especially when ending a statutory tenancy following the expiration of a shorthold tenancy is the most common problem.

Sometimes they cannot prove service of the Notice and the tenant comes to Court and denies having received it. Sometimes they cannot prove the arrears because it is not presented properly.

On many occasions we have had to start again and the arrears have increased unnecessarily. Further Court fees are also payable.

There are Managing Agents for whom we act both locally and in East London and Essex who deal with these matters for their client and instruct us to bring proceedings and arrange representation at the various County Courts.

We know how frustrating it is but you should not allow rent arrears to continue to increase without serving Notice and taking steps. Fortunately the Court must make a Possession Order if the arrears are a minimum of 2 months in value so that could mean that the tenant has not paid for 2 plus months or it could be the shortfall after Housing Benefits over a considerable period of time.

Tenants often make promises they simply cannot keep.

We can advise on all of these matters whether you are a Landlord or a Managing Agent. We are willing to negotiate a fixed fee to include preparation and representation, together with Court fees.

Once the Possession Order has been made in urgent cases we can possibly persuade the Court to allow enforcement by the High Court Enforcement Officer which speeds up the process considerably.

Please contact David Gowlet.

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