This procedure only applies to claims to recover possession against an assured shorthold tenant when the fixed period of the tenancy has come to an end.
As a landlord who has granted an assured shorthold tenancy, you are entitled to obtaining possession under the accelerated possession procedure to regain possession of your property under the provisions of the Housing Act 1988 at any time after the end of a fixed term tenancy or any time during a periodic tenancy, provided that the tenants have occupied the property for at least six months since the start of the first tenancy agreement.
Under the accelerated possession procedure claim you do not have to provide any other grounds for repossession of property using this possession claim procedure.
What is the difference between fixed term and periodic?
(a) A fixed term tenancy will be created for a specified length of time, for example, 12 months. However, if the tenants remain in the property after the fixed term has ended, and do not enter into a new fixed term agreement with you, the tenancy will automatically become periodic.
(b) A periodic tenancy rolls on a specific period such as month to month or quarter to quarter. This arrangement may have been specified at the start of the tenancy or may have naturally arisen by the expiry of a fixed term tenancy.
Criteria that must be fulfilled
Before you can begin a claim using the accelerated possession procedure, you must ensure that:
- You have a written assured shorthold tenancy agreement with the tenants.
- A notice has been served on the tenants under section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 giving the tenants an address in England & Wales where notices may be served.
- If the first tenancy agreement with the tenants is dated between 15 January 1989 and 28 February 1997, a notice (a ‘section 20 notice’) has been served on the tenants in accordance with of the Housing Act 1988.
- Any deposit received after 6 April 2007 has been paid into a Government-approved tenancy deposit scheme.
- A licence has been obtained, or applied for, if the property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) or is located in an area designated for licensing by the local authority.
If any of the above requirements have not been met then a possession claim under the accelerated procedure is unlikely to succeed.
If you have already served a section 21 notice, and the tenants have not left the property on the expiry of this notice, you may apply to the county court for an order requiring the tenants to vacate the property.
The assured shorthold tenancy must have been entered into on or after 15th January 1989. The claim must be for just possession of property (i.e. not rent arrears). There must be a written tenancy agreement in existence and a section 21 notice requiring possession of landlord property must have been served on the tenant, giving 2 months notice, which expired before the application was made to the court.
An application should be made to the County Court in the district where the property is located. It is necessary to exhibit a copy of the section 21 notice requiring repossession of rented property with the court papers.
There will not usually be a court hearing on an application under the accelerated possession procedure, unless the court is not satisfied that all matters have been complied with or if the tenant asks for a postponement of possession on the grounds of exceptional hardship.
After possession proceedings have commenced for rent arrears eviction a possession order will usually take affect immediately, unless the court is satisfied the tenant has made out a case for exceptional hardship, in which case possession can be delayed for up to 6 weeks.
If you meet the conditions required to use the accelerated possession procedure proceedings, and your tenants are in arrears of rent, we generally recommend that you use the accelerated possession procedure. This way, you are able to get the tenants out as quickly as possible and get new tenants in who will start paying rent.
It is important possession proceedings using the repossession claims procedure should take place once rent arrears has been established to enable the landlord repossess their property.
However, please note that when you use the accelerated possession claims procedure, the court will not order the tenants to pay any rent arrears to you. You must instead apply to the county court for a court order against the tenants requiring them to pay the outstanding rent to you. You need to commence repossession proceedings procedure for both rent arrears recovery and possession of rented property.
A landlord may not evict a tenant from residential property without commencing repossession proceedings and obtaining a possession order from the court. If a landlord does evict a tenant for rent arrears without obtaining a repossession order using accelerated possession procedure proceedings to obtain a valid landlord possession of property order, it is a criminal offence under section 5 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 and the landlord may be fined and/or sent to prison and/or be subjected to a civil claim for damages.