Nobody wishes to find themselves in the position of being evicted and as a landlord the whole eviction process is a long and drawn out process which can prove costly. Should the tenant not adhere to the contractual terms laid out within the tenancy agreement, they could find themselves being in receipt of tenant eviction court papers issued on behalf of the landlord for eviction proceedings.
Tenancy Eviction Process
If the landlord decides to instigate a tenant eviction, the tenant will receive a form titled “Claim for Possession”. On this form a date for a court hearing will be specified and also enclosed will be some defence papers for the tenant to complete. The defence form is the tenant/s chance to have their say, put forward a case in as much detail as possible. The tenant will get the chance to explain why they have accumulated rent arrears and any reasons they have for disagreeing with the landlords intentions to evict them.
All the paperwork for the tenant eviction must be completed and returned to the court within 14 days of the date the papers were issued. Should the tenant fail to attend the hearing, it is most likely that the judge will rule in favour of the landlord. Should the tenant not be able to afford legal representation, they can contact either Shelter or the Citizens Advice Bureau for help prior to the court hearing.
There may be free legal representation available on the day of the court hearing, provided by the Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme. This however, is not available at every County Court, again it is dependant on your Local Authority. Should you require this service please contact the Council or Local County Court who will be able to advise you if the scheme is available to you in your area.
Order for Possession
The Judge presiding your hearing will make one of three decisions available to him/her on the day:-
Possession: Adjourn Your Case
Possession Hearing: Dismiss The Case
Order of Possession: Make a Ruling
An adjournment may be made should further information be required with regards to your case, from either yourself or your landlord.
The case may be dismissed should the Judge feel that their is not a valid reason for the eviction, he will also consider dismissing the case should the Landlord not appear at the hearing or if he has reason to believe that the Landlord has not followed the required procedures.
Should a ruling be made on the day of the hearing, the Judge will make an “Order of Possession”. This date will be specified for which the tenant is required to vacate the property, and this will usually be within 14 or 45 days following the hearing depending on the circumstances of the tenant. The Judge can allow the tenant up to 6 weeks for the eviction, should the tenant be in an exceptionally difficult situation and can convince the Judge that this extended period of time is needed.
Should the tenant fail to vacate the property within the specified time given for eviction, the landlord will then have to go back to court and request the Judge to issue a “Warrant for Possession”, once the Judge issues this, a Court Bailiff will report to the property on the new date set to action the “Warrant for Possession“.
The Judge also has the power to prevent an eviction by issuing a “Suspended Order for Possession”. This will however come with conditions that the tenant is required to adhere too, and should the tenant break the conditions of the order in any way the eviction notice will be issued.
The Judge can also impose a “Money Order”. This means that the Judge will set up a payment plan which you are required to adhere too regularly over a period of time. Should you fail to make the required payments the Judge can order that the money is deducted from your wages/benefits or your bank account. The Judge can also instruct Bailiffs to attend your residence and remove property to the value owed.
The Judge can combine a Money Order with a Possession Order, this will normally incorporate any rent arrears, court fees and legal costs.
Court fees for Possession Orders are set to increase to £250 as of 22nd April 2014. Court fees for Tenant Eviction Proceedings will rise from £175 to £280. Landlords are advised that they can claim the cost of the fees back from the tenants, however there is a Government fund deficit of £125m for court fees to date.
Further advice can be obtained from Shelter or the Citizens Advice Bureau by just clicking on the logo’s below, you will find the relevant help for tenant eviction advice.