Guide to Possession and Small Claims Procedures

Possession Proceedings

This procedure is to be taken if the Landlord requires possession of the property. The procedure can be used to obtain possession of the property together with arrears of rent or simply to obtain recovery of the property by way of accelerated possession procedure. The accelerated procedure is used only when you have an expired Section 21 notice and do not wish to claim rent as part of the possession procedure.

Should you take possession under the accelerated procedure to obtain recovery of your property but still wish to sue separately for the arrears you should turn to the Small Claims Procedure.

Small Claims Procedure

This procedure can be taken at any time taken during the tenancy (having not obtained a Judgement for the arrears of rent) or if the tenant has vacated the property leaving arrears of rent which you intend to pursue by way of a County Court Judgement. This procedure should not be followed if you have already obtained Judgement for the arrears of rent under the possession procedure;
nor should it be followed if you intend to claim possession based on the rent arrears, e.g. under Ground 8.

If you require an Order for rent and possession of the property you should Possession Proceedings (see left).

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1. General Notes on Possession

Firstly, read the Possession Notes, which apply in any Possession case.

2. Types of possession for Assured Shorthold Tenancies

Fault based Possession

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Fault based possession can be started at any time in the tenancy term and is applicable when the tenant is in rent arrears or has breached the tenancy in some other way.


Rent Arrears or Other Breach
Section 8 notice should be served for arrears of rent or any other breach. The main grounds for arrears are at ground 8 (8 weeks/2 months or more) which is mandatory and grounds 10 & 11
Notice should be prepared and served (preferably by hand) giving a 17 day window before proceedings are issued.
Preparing proceedings (Form N5 and N119).
Obtaining hearing.
Preparing Witness Statement in readiness for hearing and service upon tenant and Court.
Hearing/obtaining Order.
Bailiff / enforcement.

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Possession at end of tenancy

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When a tenancy has ended, you can regain possession of your property without giving a reason.


End of Tenancy
Section 21(1) notice to be served either during the fixed term or during any subsequent statutory periodic tenancy, or under Section 21(4) if the tenancy started out as periodic or there is a contractual periodic run on after the fixed term. A minimum of 2 months notice should be given in either case.
Notice should be prepared and preferably served personally.
Preparing proceedings (Form N5b accelerated procedure for no rent arrears.)
Receiving notice of hearing or issue.
Preparing for hearing (if rent arrears) or request for Order.
Hearing/Order obtained.
Bailiff / enforcement.

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