Obtaining Possession of Residential Property using the Standard Procedure (Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988)
Introduction to the Standard Procedure
The standard procedure for obtaining possession of a residential property is outlined in Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. This procedure is used by landlords to reclaim possession of a property from tenants who have breached the terms of their tenancy agreement. The procedure is designed to be fair to both landlords and tenants, and to ensure that the tenant can be evicted in a lawful manner.
Section 8 Notice
The first step in the process is to serve a Section 8 Notice on the tenant. This is a legal document which informs the tenant that the landlord is seeking possession of the property. The notice must be served in accordance with the law, and must give the tenant a minimum of two weeks’ notice to leave the property.
Proof of Service of Section 8 Notice
Once the Section 8 Notice has been served, the landlord must prove that it has been served in accordance with the law. This can be done by providing a copy of the notice, along with a signed and dated proof of service. This must be done before the landlord can proceed with the next step.
Application to Court for a Possession Order
Once the Section 8 Notice has been served on the tenant, the landlord can then apply to the court for a Possession Order. The court will consider the landlord’s application and decide whether or not to grant the order. If the order is granted, the tenant will be required to leave the property within a set period of time.
Preparing the Application on Paper
Before submitting the application to the court, the landlord must ensure that it is completed correctly. This includes providing the necessary documents and information to the court, such as a copy of the tenancy agreement and proof of service of the Section 8 Notice.
Submitting the Application to the Court
Once the application has been prepared and all the necessary documents have been provided, it can be submitted to the court. The application must be submitted in the correct format, and will be subject to a fee. The court will then consider the application and decide whether or not to grant the order.
Court Issues the Claim
Once the application has been accepted by the court, the landlord will receive a Claim Form. This form will contain details of the hearing date, the court’s address, and instructions for what to do next.
Action to be Taken by Tenant on Receiving Claim Form
Once the tenant receives the Claim Form, they must take action in accordance with the instructions provided. This may include filing an Answer to the Claim, attending the hearing, and/or filing an application for a Suspended or Postponed Possession Order.
The hearing is the next stage in the process. At the hearing, the court will consider the evidence presented by both the landlord and the tenant, and make a decision as to whether or not to grant the Possession Order.
Outright Possession Order
If the court grants the Possession Order, the tenant will be required to leave the property within the specified period of time. If the tenant fails to do so, the landlord can then take action to evict the tenant.
Suspended or Postponed Possession Order
If the court decides to grant a Suspended or Postponed Possession Order, the tenant will not be required to leave the property immediately. Instead, they will be given a set period of time to remedy the breach of the tenancy agreement, after which the Order will be enforced.
Bringing a Possession Claim Online via www.gov.uk website
If you are a landlord looking to obtain possession of a residential property, you can bring a possession claim online via the www.gov.uk website. This is a fast and convenient way to begin the process of obtaining possession.
The website will provide you with detailed guidance about the steps you need to take to bring a possession claim. It will also provide you with the relevant forms and documents that you need to complete, as well as details of any fees that you may need to pay.
Enforcement of a Possession Order
Once you have been granted a possession order, you then need to enforce it. There are two types of possession orders: outright possession orders, and suspended possession orders.
a. Application to Court for Warrant of Possession – Outright Possession Order
An outright possession order requires the tenant to leave the property immediately. To enforce this type of order, you must apply to the court for a warrant of possession. This is an order that authorises the court bailiffs to physically evict the tenant from the property.
b. Application to Court for Warrant of Possession – Suspended Possession Order
A suspended possession order gives the tenant a specified amount of time to leave the property. This can be enforced in the same way as an outright possession order by applying to the court for a warrant of possession.
c. Issue of Warrant for Possession
Once the court has granted the warrant of possession, it will be issued to the court bailiffs who will then arrange a time to evict the tenant from the property.
Enforcement of a Money Judgment
If the tenant has failed to pay rent or other monies due under the tenancy agreement, you may be able to apply to the court for a money judgment against them. This will allow you to recover the money owed to you.
a. Information about the Tenant’s Finances
In order to apply for a money judgment, you must first obtain information about the tenant’s finances. This can be done by requesting a financial statement from the tenant.
b. Enforcement Options
Once you have obtained a money judgment against the tenant, you can then take steps to enforce it. There are several enforcement options available, including:
i. Warrant of Control – seizure of debtor’s property
A warrant of control authorises the court bailiffs to seize the debtor’s property in order to recover the money owed. This can include items such as furniture or electrical goods.
ii. Attachment of Earnings Order – obtaining debtor’s salary
An attachment of earnings order allows you to recover the money owed from the debtor’s wages. The court will order the debtor’s employer to deduct a specified amount of money from their wages each month and send it directly to you.
iii. Third Party Debt Order – obtaining funds from third party
A third party debt order can be used to obtain funds from a third party, such as a bank or building society, if the debtor has money held in an account with them. The court will order the third party to pay a specified amount of money to you in order to recover the money owed.
Housing Act 1988. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/50/contents
Bringing a Possession Claim Online. https://www.gov.uk/evicting-tenants/bringing-a-possession-claim-online
Enforcement of a Possession Order. https://www.gov.uk/evicting-tenants/enforcing-a-possession-order
Enforcement of a Money Judgment. https://www.gov.uk/enforcing-a-money-judgment
A List for all the court forms can be found here