Notice must be served and currently with the current Covid 19 pandemic the possession claims are not a priority of the courts. The current ban on possession claim has been lifted as on 20th of Sept 2020. You can instruct a solicitor to start the possession claim for you. Including the relevant section 21 of section 8 notice. This depends on the circumstances of the notice and eviction.
Extension to the notice period
On 29 August 2020, the Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) extended the minimum notice period a landlord must give a tenant before commencing possession proceedings from 3 months to 6 months. This will apply until at least 31 March 2021.
What are exceptions to the 6 months notice period?
Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is anything that causes alarm, harassment or distress that adversely affects another person's quality of life.
This might include:
There are teo different kind of notices that you can serve on your Tenant. They are both used to evict a tenant but they are very different. It is very important to use the correct Notice to avoid wasting money on court fees and having your Tenant stay in your property for any longer than necessary.
Section 8 Notice
This is also knows as a Notice to Quit. A Landlord can use this notice when a tenant has breached theur contract and therefore there will be grounds for possession. The most common ground (reason) is rent arrears. However, this can be used in many different circumstances depending on what is in your agreement with the Tenant and what has been breached.
This Notice can be served any time any time during the tenancy, including the fixed term. The notice will be dependant on the grounds for the notice.
Section 21 Notice
This is known as a Notice of Possession. The notice cannot end before the fixed term, and is valid for up to 6 months. A landlord does not have to give any reason for serving
the notice in order to regain possession. This can not be served in the first 4 months of a tenancy.
All tenancies (including renewals but not tenancies that continue on a statutory periodic basis) that started after the 1st October 2015 are now subject to new regulations associated with the service of Section 21 notices.
You must provide your tenants with the following documents at the commencement of the tenancy:
You can not serve a Section 21 notice if you have not given your tenants these documents. It is strongly recommended that you retain evidence that these documents have been provided to your tenants.
It is often easier to serve a Section 21, even if the tenant is in arrears, as the process for a Section 8 can be costly and any grounds you give can be contested by the tenant in court. It is possible to serve both notices at the same time.
Before starting this process, it is always best to speak with your tenant and try to see what has happened for the rent arears. Sometimes you can set up a payment plan to cover the rent arrears with the tenant.
The process starts with the completion of the claim form which we will do for you. This is the Court form a landlord or property owner uses to apply to the court for a possession order for residential property that has been let on an assured shorthold tenancy (AST).
Currently the court issue fee is £355 for possession claims. This may change from time to time so it may be worth looking at the GOV website. This needs to be covered by the Landlord.
Once the documents are filed with the Court you will receive a hearing date
Interim Possession Order
Interim Possession Order Or an IPO for short- from the Court is an option available to a landlord (both individually and commercially) who finds anybody occupying their premises without their consent. Should an IPO be granted by the Court the squatters must leave the premises within 24 hours after being served a copy of the IPO, or they will be guilty of a criminal offence.
In order to apply to the Court for an IPO there are a number of requirements that need to be met. It is important to note that the procedure for an IPO does not apply to open land and the application needs to be made within 28 days of the date the landlord became aware of the unauthorised occupation.
A Claim Form and application for an interim possession order, which includes a supporting witness statement of the landlord, will need to be sent to the Court. We will prepare all this for you to make sure that you are legal and compliant.
The Court will urgently set the case for an interim hearing. The notice must be served on the squatters. If you meet the citeria an order will be made for an IPO.
Interim Possesion Order
This order must be served on the squatters and it will tell them when they ahve to leave by (24 hours) and when they should attend the final possession hearing. Once this order is served the Squatters must leave the premises. If they are still there it will be a Criminal Offence which carries a 6-month prison sentence and or a £5000 fine.
Final Possession Hearing
At the final hearing the Judge may make a final Possession Order, dismiss the claim or provide directions. A lot will depend on the circumstances of the matter such as if the squatters are opposing the possession.
IPOs are a quicker method for the recovery of premises, with hearings being listed far quicker than normal possession proceedings (sometimes withing a week). In addition, once an IPO has been granted the landlord can instruct police or private bailiffs to remove the squatters if they have not vacated in accordance with the IPO.
Costs and legal fees
To ensure the application is done successfully and no cost is wasted, it is important to ensure you meet all the requirements before applying for an IPO is made. In addition to legal fees, you will be required to pay disbursements such as the Court issue fee and potential fees for serving the court documents with the appropriate notice of service.
NNE Law recently acted for a Local landlord who had issues with a number of unidentified squatters living in his property. As soon as he identified that the premises had been broken into by squatters, he contact our legal team. With the current Covid-19 pandemic we managed to get a IPO within 9 days. The final possession order was also dealt with swiftly in case the squatters decided to return. Returning to the same premises after an IPO has been executed is a criminal offence which carries a 6-month prison sentence and or a £5000 fine.