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How to Gain a Possession Order

How to Evict a Tenant: Step Two: Gain a Possession Order

If you have served your tenant the correct notice to end the tenancy but they have not vacated the property, then you can seek to gain a possession order from the courts.

There is a lot of support for landlords looking to evict their tenants, and all the forms you’ll need to fill in have been standardised and digitised by the Government.

This guide will also go through how you can recover any rent arrears if this is also relevant for your situation.

How Did you Serve Notice?

The process for evicting a tenant at this stage will depend on whether you served a Section 8 or Section 21 to end the tenancy.

In either case you will have to apply for a possession order, however, the process is different depending on whether you are seeking to rely on a Section 8 or Section 21 notice.

If you are relying on a Section 8 notice, then you will need to attend a court hearing. Whereas, if you served a Section 21, you can go through the accelerated procedure which does not involve a court hearing.

Section 8: Possession Orders

A possession order is essentially an order from the court telling the tenant to vacate the property, leaving you in possession.

To regain possession of your property, you will need to submit these forms to the court:

There is a cost associated with pursuing possession orders. Claiming possession will cost you £325 if you use the Government’s online portal.

Section 21: The Accelerated Procedure

The fastest way to obtain a possession order after a Section 21 notice expires is through the accelerated possession procedure. You can ask a court to issue a possession order using this process if your tenants have not vacated the property by the end of your notice period.

Accelerated possession orders do not require a court hearing, so can happen much faster. The court effectively skips straight to the possession order.

You can start the accelerated possession procedure with a N5b form. It costs £355. Please note that there are separate forms for England and Wales.

When submitting the form, it is very important to include evidence that the notice was served correctly and that you complied with all of the requirements.

The court will send your tenants the application, and then they will have two weeks to challenge it. The only defence a tenant can raise is that the Section 21 notice served was invalid or that no notice was received; highlighting just how important it is to include this evidence when submitting the form.

Beware! This accelerated possession procedure can only be used in cases where the landlord is not asking for a money order at the same time. You are free to seek a possession order using the accelerated procedure and then start a separate money claim for rent arrears after the property has been vacated. 

Which Court Do I Apply to?

For both Section 8 and Section 21 notices, you apply to the nearest county court to the property that deals with housing possession. You can easily find that out by entering the postcode here.

Eviction Date

If the court grants a possession order it will state a date that the tenant must leave the property.

If they still remain in the property after this date has passed, you will not be allowed to enter the property and must instead make an application to enforce the possession order.

You can read our full guide on how to get a warrant of possession here.

Need help with an eviction? Speak to our legal partners today.

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Recovering Rent Arrears 

As above, the process for recovering rent arrears will be different depending on whether you served a Section 8 or Section 21 to end the tenancy and whether or not you used the accelerated procedure to gain a possession order.

Section 8

If you used a Section 8 to end the tenancy, you can apply to the county court for a money order at the same time as the possession application.

If a judge rules in your favour, they can produce a ruling that orders your tenants to pay off their rent arrears and possibly the court fees and your legal costs as well.

Section 21

Accelerated possession procedure

If you used the accelerated  possession procedure, then will have to start a separate claim for arrears owed to you through the Government’s Money Claim Online service.

You can read our full advice about bringing a claim for rent arrears using Money Claims Online here.

Standard possession order process

If you plan to use the standard possession procedure, you can claim both possession and arrears at the same time as part of the same process. 

You can begin that process here. It costs £325. You should note however that unlike the accelerated possession procedure, this process will involve a court hearing and, therefore, if the priority is regaining possession, then you may be well advised to go down the accelerated possession route.

How do I Prove my Tenant is in Rent Arrears? 

The best and most obvious way to prove rent arrears is with a thorough, accurate, schedule of arrears.

This should detail all rental periods, rent due and rent paid since the start of the tenancy. Ideally, it would also include the method of payment and any payer details (account number, whether by direct debit, etc.)

You should also include all the correspondence you’ve had on the issue. This might include rent due notices, payment prompts and reminders, or agreements you’ve made about/leniencies given for due rent.

The more warnings you have given your tenant that they owe rent, the harder it will be for them to argue against your claim – and the more likely it will have been that they would have paid!

With Rent Collection, OpenRent can keep a record of all payments made and chase tenants if they go into arrears on your behalf.

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This article is not intended to form legal or investment advice. Investments in property are not guaranteed and can decrease in value as well as increase.

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