Chasing rent arrears and obtaining a possession order on Assured Shorthold Tenancies

  1. Ensure that the rent arrears are closely monitored and act as soon as any arrears arise.
  2. Establish the reasons for the arrears and consider if it is appropriate to delay action or serve Notices to protect your position and not lose time in the eviction process.
  3. Serve a s8 Housing Act 1988 Notice of Seeking Possession on appropriate rent and other grounds under Schedule 2 (with solicitor’s letter) once 2 months arrears arisen. Notice will run for 2 weeks.
  4. Consider also if you are able to serve a s21 Housing Act 1988 Notice requiring Possession which will run for 2 months. Both notices are technical legal documents and must be drafted and served correctly.
  5. The landlord has to decide if he or she wants a County Court money Judgment with the possession order. The options are:- a) A Possession Order and money Judgment through the standard possesion procedure with at least one Court hearing. b) If a s21 Notice has been served and no money Judgment is required, use the accelerated possession procedure with no hearing if unopposed. c) Use the accelerated possession proceedings for the Possession Order and separate proceedings for the money Judgment. d) Serve both the s8 Notice of seeking possession and the s21 Notice requiring possession. Issue proceedings on the rent arrears after 2 weeks but refer to the s21 Notice in the Court papers id the hearing is 2 months after the s21 Notice has been served, ask for the Court to give permission to rely on s21 Notice if neccessary. 
  6. Once a possession order has been obtained and the tenant remains, apply for a County bailiff’s appointment. 
Accelerated Possession Procedure
  • Papers are sent to the Court.
  • Allow 7 days for the Court to issue.
  • Allow 21 days for the Tenant to respond.
  • Landlord applies for the possession order.
  • Judge considers the papers and sends our the order (3 weeks)
  • Possession order is made giving the tenant 2-6 weeks to leave.
  • Bailiff’s appointment applied for. Bailiff’s appointment takes place 4-6 weeks later.
Standard Possession Procedure
  • Papers sent to Court
  • 5 minute hearing 5-8 weeks later
  • If there are 8 weeks/ 2 months arrears at the time of the Notice of seeking Possession and at the time of the hearing or a valid s21 Notice is relied on, the Judge orders tenants to leave in 2-6 weeks.
  • If the tenant does not leave apply for the bailiff’s appointment. The bailiff attends 4-6 weeks later.
  • If a case is defended the Judge will give a timetable for directions that is steps to take the matter to a trial hearing approx 6 months later.