What is an Accelerated Possession Claim?
An accelerated possession claim is an application for the landlord to regain possession of the residential property under section 21 notice. The process used to do this through the county court is known as the accelerated possession claim.
Accelerated Possession claim can only be used for assured shorthold tenancies agreement. The accelerated possession procedure is used when the tenancy is a periodic tenancy.
When the section 21 notice expires, then, of course, the fixed term tenancy would too have expired.
It is crucial to ensure the notice period on the section 21 Notice is the correct notice period. For the claim to fail, the common reason is the incorrect notice period given on the section 21 notice.
It is also worth noting. The section 21 notice for England and Wales for England are NOT the same. For England, you must use the section 21 notice Form 6A.
For Wales is a section 21 Notice which is NOT the prescribed section 21 form 6A.
This process can only be used where the tenancy is in writing and the landlord has a copy(s) of the tenancy agreement.
If the landlord does not have all the applicable tenancy agreement(s), the accelerated possession route cannot be used.
Where the tenancy agreement has been lost, or the tenancy agreement was oral, then a fixed date eviction claim should be issued.
The Accelerated possession process can only be used if you have an assured shorthold tenancy. It cannot be used for “Assured” tenancies.
Even if you use a solicitor, you will rarely recover all your legal costs from the tenant. Courts usually only award fixed costs.
What court forms do I need for an Accelerated possession claim?
Possession proceedings under the Accelerated route, you must use the correct claim form. You will require the latest version of form N5B (Accelerated possession claim). If the property is Wales, you will need to use the N5B claim form for Wales.
If the property is in England, you will need to use the N5B claim form for England. The Accelerated possession procedure is not applicable for tenancies in Scotland.
The N5B form is complicated, and it is not easy to complete correctly. County court staff are unable to assist you in completing the form.
If your claim fails, you could lodge a complaint against the court because a staff member at the county court advised you incorrectly.
For this good reason, court staff or landlord associations will not advise how to complete the N5B form.
Shorthold tenancies now have many obligations on the landlords, which they must comply with. Failure to do so will mean a section 21 notice may be deemed invalid, and a claim to regain your property through the county court fail.
You will need all the following documents as well as any documents referred to in the correct N5B for:
- All the tenancies
- Valid section 21 notice
- Deposit certificate if a deposit was taken a deposit
- Gas safety certificate
- License to le the property if applicable
- HMO license if applicable
- The correct version of “How to rent guide booklet.”
- Evidence of how COVID-19 has affected the tenant. Just a letter will do; download our free template.
- Finally, for properties in Wales, you will need a Rent Smart Wales Licence.
You will need a certificate of service (Form) for each document when, how, and by whom the document was given to the renter.
Suppose some of the documents were given to the renter simultaneously. In that case, you could use one certificate and list all the documents by the same person.
What documents do I need for an accelerated possession claim?
You will need all the documents associated with the tenancy, including all the tenancy agreements, Especially the very 1st tenancy and the latest periodic tenancy. You must ensure you all the documents in the list above.
How long does it take to get possession using the accelerated route?
Due to COVID-19, the period you may have to wait before a court issues a possession order will vary depending on how busy the courts are.
Before COVID-19, the average time an eviction claim was issued was six weeks to receive a possession order.
One of the leading tenant eviction companies, data from Landlord Advice UK, reveals the average time to receive a possession order is 8 to 10.
Can I claim rent arrears under the accelerated claim?
No, you cannot claim rent arrears under the accelerated possession process. The Accelerated route is a no-fault claim. You can only claim possession using this process.
How much does it cost for an accelerated possession claim?
A private landlord should not attempt to claim themselves as the accelerated procedure claim for is complicated.
At the moment, the court fee is £355; however, this may change, and you should check the application fee when you intend to issue the claim.
What can go wrong with using a court accelerated possession claim?
If the claim is defended, the court will send you the defence form from the tenant. The tenant can defend the claim, or the judge may refuse to grant eviction due to a faulty claim.
Alternatively, the judge may list the matter for a management directions hearing. This means the county court will list the case for a possession hearing, and the management hearing is to discuss how to progress the claim.
It is a prevalent defence for the tenant to say they did not receive the section 21 notice. If you gave the tenant the notice by hand or put it through the letterbox, they are one of the ultimate ways to serve the notice.
Should the tenant defend by stating, the notice was not given. Then you can be called to give evidence of your own accord how and when the notice was served.
A common reason for a judge to refuse to grant an eviction order is:
a faulty section 21 notice.
Deposit not protected or protected late.
Proof of service for a document has not been provided
Break Clause has been invoked incorrectly
Retaliatory eviction defence erected
Insufficient gas safety record
County Court Practice direction 55C has not been followed
Coronavirus Pandemic guidelines for the possession claim not adhered to
Arrears of rent have been claimed using the wrong claim N5B form
A common reason for a section 21 notice to be deemed faulty are:
old notice version
If a landlord fails to follow various obligations, it can make a section 21 notice invalid.
See the complete list of things you must provide when submitting a claim on our webpage or use our free section 21 Notice checker.
How much is the county court fee for an accelerated claim?
As discussed above, the court fee is £355 as of the 14th of March 2021. However, you should re-check the applicable fee payable when you issue the claim. The cheque needs to be made payable to “HMCTS”.
Courts do not accept 3rd party cheques. Courts usually return possession claims when the cheque is made from a 3rd party.
Once an eviction order has been issued, and the tenant has not given you vacant possession of your property. You will need a county court or high court bailiff to evict the tenant.
Sometimes the tenant cannot move out as the council may insist, they stay put until the landlord has a bailiff letter. The council will not help the tenant with their housing need until a bailiff letter has been issued.
Can a tenant defend a possession claim under section 21?
Yes, a tenant can file a defence under the accelerated route. If the defence is successful, you may need to pay the tenant’s lawyer fees, which are £800 to £2000.
My tenant is defending my accelerated possession claim; what can I do?
You must obtain legal advice if your claim for possession is defended. There is no point in trying to defend any claim if the claim is fundamentally legally flawed.
Usually, you would not have a hearing; however, if the matter is defended or a judge is not happy with any aspect of your claim. The case will be listed for a court hearing.
If this happens, you should seek free legal expert advice.
What is the deposit prescribed information?
When a tenant pays a deposit to a landlord or a letting agent, the deposit by law must be protected within 30 days of taking the deposit. The tenant must be given the deposit certificate and the deposit prescribed information.
The prescribed information is the deposit information and sets out how the tenant can claim the deposit back.
The Deposit protection scheme needs to be fully followed. Not providing the deposit certificate or the tenant’s deposit prescribed information will make a section 21 notice invalid.
The main reason for the claim failures is down to the non-compliance of the tenancy deposits legislation.
Appropriate action must be taken to remedy any failure where the tenancy deposit scheme regulation has not complied with. This should be done before taking legal action or serving a section 21 notice.
What is a demotion tenancy?
The claim form N5B refers to a Demotion tenancy. This is one element of the N5B that many lawyers and landlords ask what a demotion tenancy is?
When referring to the demoted tenancy, this section is only applicable to Local authorities or social landlords.
Where a local authority may have issued an “Assured” tenancy, and the tenant has misbehaved, the council can demote the tenancy from an “Assured” tenancy to an “Assured shorthold” tenancy.
The claim process is complicated unless you are familiar with the CPR and PD for possessions. We strongly recommend you do not attempt to do the claim yourself.
This bog is for reference only and does not constitute legal advice directly or indirectly.
Seek legal advice before serving a section 21 notice to ensure you have fully complied with your legal obligations.
You can use Landlord Advice UK, one of the leading tenant eviction companies covering all of England & Wales. Email: [email protected]
The British Landlords Association is a free national landlords association for UK landlords, why not join us.
Author: Sarah Featherstone [email protected]
Date: 14th of March 2021