The Standard & Accelerated Procedure

‘The Standard Procedure’

Which is also known as the ‘Section 8 Procedure’ begins with the service of a two week notice (14 days) upon the tenant stating the amount of rent arrears, the grounds upon which you are asking for your property back and the earliest date on which you can issue Court proceedings.

Upon expiry of the notice, and if the tenant has failed to leave or pay the outstanding rent arrears, proceedings may be issued against the tenant based upon the fact that two months rent or more is outstanding you can now start the Court process to recover possession of your property.

Once the Court proceedings have been prepared and issued by the relevant Court, the Court will set a date for a hearing which will be approximately 4-8 weeks from the date of issue. The Court will send the papers to your tenant together with notice of the Court date.

At the Court hearing, if there is still two months or more of rent outstanding and the papers are in order, the Judge has no discretion and must make an Order for Possession of the property and at the same time a County Court Judgment (CCJ) against the tenants stating that they must pay the outstanding rent to you and also leave the property within a certain time – usually within 14 days although in some circumstances this can be up to a maximum of 42 days.

If the tenant does not pay the outstanding rent then you may have to enforce the CCJ, more information can be found in our ‘debt recovery’ pages. The obligation is on you to chase the tenant for the money owed, not the Court.

If the tenant does not leave the property by the date Ordered then you must instruct the Court Bailiff who will make an appointment to evict the tenant. If this is necessary then you must attend the eviction with a locksmith to change the locks. The time for an appointment with the Bailiff can vary depending on the Bailiff’s diary but generally an appointment is around 3 weeks from the date upon which the Bailiff is instructed.

‘The Accelerated Procedure’

This is also known as the ‘Section 21 Procedure’. This procedure is not concerned with the arrears of rent and so the recovery of the property is the sole objective.

To begin along the ‘Accelerated’ path to possession, a two month notice must be served on the tenant.

When the notice expires, if your tenant has not vacated the property, Court proceedings can be issued for the recovery of the property. Within a few days of filing the proceedings the tenant will receive those proceedings directly from the Court and the tenant will then have 14 days to respond.

If the tenant does not respond within 14 days you are free to request that the Court make an Order stating that the tenant must vacate the property, usually within 14 days. If all of the papers, including the notice that has been served, are in order, there is very little that the tenant can do to argue against the Judge making an Order for Possession of the property.

The most the tenant can do is argue that leaving the property will cause him exceptional hardship if he is forced to leave in such a short time, and the most a Judge can do in those circumstances is to allow the tenant up to a maximum of 42 days from the date of the Order to vacate the property. The Judge only uses his discretion to give 42 days if there are obvious signs of hardship, such as if there are children in the property.

In the usual course of events, once the Judge receives your request for an Order, after the tenant’s initial 14 day period is up, the Judge will look at the Court file and simply make an Order for Possession. In rarer circumstances, such as if the tenant has raised some issues or allegations in its reply to the Court, the Judge can Order a hearing to take place and this will obviously delay the process.

The ‘Accelerated Procedure’ can take up to around 2 months from the date from which the Court Proceedings are issued to the date upon which the tenant must leave, but if the tenant does not respond to the Proceedings with a defence then you could have a date by which the tenant must leave quite quickly normally in the region of 4-5 weeks from the date that Proceedings are issued.