What is an Accelerated Possession Claim?
An accelerated possession claim is an application for the landlord to regain possession of the property under section 21 notice. The process used to do this through the county court is known as the accelerated possession claim.
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 possession claim should be issued.
Further information regarding the process is contained in this blog.
The Accelerated possession process can only be used if you have an assured shorthold tenancy. It cannot be used for “Assured” tenancies.
What court forms do I need for an Accelerated possession claim?
You will require the latest version of the form N5B (Accelerated possession claim). If the property is Wales, you will need to use the N5B form for Wales. If the property is in England, you will need to use the N5B for England. The Accelerated possession claim procedure is not applicable for tenancies in Scotland.
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
- If a deposit is taken, the deposit prescribed information
- Gas safety certificate
- License to le the property if applicable
- HMO license if applicable
- The correct version of “How to rent guide booklet.”
- EPC Energy Performance certificate
- Electrical safety certificate
- 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.
If some of the documents were given to the renter simultaneously, you can 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. 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 a possession claim was issued was six weeks to receive a possession order.
Data from Landlord Advice UK, one of the leading tenant eviction companies, reveals the average time to receive a possession order for an accelerated possession claim is 8 to 10.
Can I claim rent arrears under the accelerated possession claim?
No, you cannot claim rent arrears under the accelerated possession process, the Accelerated route is a no-fault claim, and you can only claim possession using this process.
How much does it cost for an accelerated possession claim?
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?
The tenant can defend the claim, or the judge may refuse to grant possession due to a faulty claim.
A common reason for a judge to refuse to grant possession is a faulty section 21 notice.
A common reason for a section 21 notice to be deemed faulty are:
Wrong notice, old version
Incorrect date when a landlord is requesting possession
Failed to comply with various obligations, which trigger renders a section 21 notice to be faulty. See the complete list of things you are required to provide when submitting a possession claim.
How much is the court fee for an accelerated possession 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 possession claim. The cheque needs to be made payable to “HMCTS”.
Courts do not accept 3rd party cheque’s. Courts usually return possession claims when the cheque is made from a 3rd party.
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 anything from £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 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 complied with. Not providing the deposit certificate or the tenant’s deposit prescribed information will render a section 21 notice invalid.
The main reason for accelerated possession claim failures is down to the non-compliance of the tenancy deposits legislation.
Appropriate action needs to 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 accelerated possession claim form N5B refers to a Demotion tenancy. This is one element of the N5B that many lawyers and landlords ask what is a demotion tenancy?
When it refers 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 Accelerated possession 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 your self. This bog is for reference only and does not constitute legal advice directly or indirectly.
You can use Landlord Advice UK who is one of the leading tenant eviction companies that cover all of England & Wales. email: email@example.com website: landlordadvice.co.uk
The British Landlords Association is a free national landlords association for UK landlords, why not join us.
Author: Sarah Featherstone firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 14th of March 2021