Landlords wish to recover possession of a residential property which they let to a tenant for a number of reasons which include:

(a) the tenant is in arrears of rent,

(b) the tenant has breached other terms of the tenancy agreement e.g. caused it to fall into disrepair or unlawfully sublet it, or

(c) the landlord simply wants to sell the property.

Commercial Property Law

Residential letting is a heavily regulated process, and the law generally favours the tenant. The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 provides that, in most circumstances, a tenant cannot be removed from residential premises unless the tenant moves out voluntarily or you obtain a possession order from the Court. Many landlords and agents can encounter issues with tenants and recovering possession.

It is not possible to simply gain possession by re-entering the property and changing the locks. If you did, the tenant would have a strong claim against you for breach of the terms of the tenancy, and/or unlawful eviction and harassment. This could lead to a damages claim and/or possibly a criminal conviction.

There are potentially three steps to be taken to recover possession of residential property:

1. Serving notice on the tenant that possession is required (“the notice of possession”);
2. Issuing a claim for possession in the county court; and
3. Recovering possession after judgment.

Should the tenant fail to leave the property after the expiry of a notice of possession, the proper procedure must be followed, and you must obtain a possession order from the court before trying to take back possession. Even when the notice seeking possession has expired, you do not have the right to evict the tenant without a court order. After the court has made the possession order, you must instruct a bailiff to recover possession after judgment.

We act for landlords who have a large property portfolio, or just own one or two properties from which to make a small income.

We will advise you about the correct notice which needs to be served. If the tenant does not leave, then we can assist in bringing possession proceedings against them in the county court.

Once you have removed a tenant from your property, we can advise you on the best way to recover monies held under a Deposit Protection Scheme. If you are owed money, we can advise you on the enforcement action you can take against the tenant.

We can also ensure that, before you enter a letting, your agreement is watertight in respect of the tenant’s obligations to ensure that the condition of your property is maintained and that, in the event of the tenant breaching its obligations, there are options available to enable you to get fast and efficient solutions.

The Solicitors in our Property Litigation team can give you accurate and comprehensive advice on the law. The team has expertise in all aspects of possession claims, including:
Right Arrow The giving of a notice to vacate, including the type of notice required
Right Arrow The requirements for a valid notice, including (where applicable) the registration of tenants’ deposits and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)
Right Arrow Possession claims, including those brought under the accelerated possession procedure
Right Arrow Possession proceedings that fall outside the accelerated possession procedure
Right Arrow Defences and counterclaims which may be brought by tenants
Right Arrow Bailiffs’ warrants and applications by tenants to stay an eviction
Right Arrow Service charge disputes
Right Arrow Advice on what documents to serve when issuing a new tenancy

We can offer pro-active advice to bring about a cost-effective resolution.