Accelerated Possession Procedure

The accelerated possession procedure can be used for gaining possession of a property without a court hearing.

When the accelerated possession procedure can be used

If a landlord uses the accelerated procedure he / she may only claim possession of the property and nothing else, for example rent arrears cannot be claimed.

To use this procedure the tenancy must be-

Court action

Your landlord must have served you the relevant notice seeking possession (section 21) before court proceedings can begin. The notice period must be either a minimum of two months or for the same period for which rent is paid (whichever is longer) and should end on the last day of the rental period. Court proceedings cannot begin before the expiry of the notice. The notice must be given on or before the last day of the fixed term and cannot expire before the end of the fixed term.

Any notice sent by your landlord must comply with all the criteria in the previous paragraph or it will be invalid which would mean he / she must then issue a new notice which complies with the statutory requirements.

If your landlord makes a claim for possession the court will send you the relevant papers which will include a N11B defence form and notes on how to complete. You will have 14 days to complete and return the N11B defence form from the deemed date of service (which is two days after posting). It is very important that you return the defence form within the specified time.

When you receive the court papers and N11B defence form, you will need to read and study them carefully before responding. If you wish to stay in the property as long as possible due to exceptional hardship etc. you can request extra time to remain. This can be up to six weeks (42 days) and it will be up to the judge to decide. Examples of exceptional hardship would include you or a member of your household being ill, pregnant or if young children are involved and you have no immediate access to other accomodation. If you need assistance understanding and completing this form, get advice immediately.

If you do not return the form within the specified time your landlord can apply for possession based solely on his / her claim without the judge considering your circumstances. If you return the N11B defence form after the specified time, but before your landlord returns the form requesting possession, your defence will be treated as being filed in time.

Examples of what the court can decide

Warrant of eviction

If you do not leave the property within the date of the possession order your landlord can apply to evict you.

Accelerated possession procedure costs

The costs your landlord can claim with this procedure are limited to the court application fee and fixed solicitors costs (if one is used).

Getting re-housed

If you are faced with eviction and no hope of stopping or suspending a warrant you will need to look for alternative accommodation as soon as possible. Many people believe that their Local Authority (council) will re-house them when facing eviction. This is not true in all cases due to the intentionally homeless rule or if you are not classed as a priority need.

If you are facing the possibility of possession / eviction or homelessness for any reason contact your Local Authority (council) as soon as possible and ask what they can do for you with regard to re-housing.

You have rights with regard to a homeless interview and there is a homeless code of guidelines your Local Authority (council) should follow with regards to re-housing and the intentionally homeless rules etc. Make sure you know your rights and if in doubt or you are not happy about any decisions etc seek independent advice as you may be able to challenge them.

Illegal eviction

There can be problems with landlords trying to evict tenants without following the proper procedures and in extreme cases using harassment and threats which can be a worrying and distressing experience for those concerned A landlords right to get their property back from a residential tenant can normally only be enforced through the court (see links below for more detailed information)

If you are being harassed and believe that your landlord may evict you illegally, or have already been evicted, you can ask your Local Authority (council) for help and advice. It is usually the Local Authorities (councils) housing or environmental health departments that can help / advice you about your rights. They may employ someone to deal specifically with issues and problems relating to private tenants, such as a tenancy relations officer, housing or homelessness prevention worker.

Useful Links

Free independent advice

If your home is at risk and you have any doubts or not sure about anything seek immediate independent specialist advice from a free recognised agency / solicitor (examples below)

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