June 9, 2022

Accelerated possession procedure vs standard possession procedure

Aimee Phillips, a solicitor specialising Landlord and Tenant law at Holmes & Hills, discusses how the accelerated possession procedure differs from the standard possession procedure.

The accelerated possession procedure is the Court procedure a landlord can follow when evicting a tenant under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. This procedure is only initiated if, following the expiry of the section 21 notice, the tenant remains in the property. Unfortunately for landlords, a tenant’s right to remain in the property will continue until the landlord has obtained an Accelerated Possession Order from the Court, instructing them that they must vacate the property.

It is important to note that this procedure is not available to landlords if they have only given notice under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. The standard possession procedure is available to them in these instances.

Accelerated possession procedure: a brief overview

  1. If a section 21 notice has expired and the tenant remains in the property, the first step is to make a Court application for possession.
  2. Once the Court receives the application, they will send a Notice of Issue to both parties which will give the tenant 14 days to file a defence.
  3. If the tenant does not file a defence, the landlord can apply to the Court for a Possession Order.
  4. If the tenant remains in the property after the Court has granted a Possession Order, then the landlord will have to take the additional step of instructing bailiffs by way of a warrant of possession application.
  5. The bailiffs will send the tenant an eviction notice which will stipulate the date on which the tenant must give up possession.

These applications can be tricky and can sometimes fail due to a procedural mistake. Therefore, we would not advise that these steps be taken without consulting a specialist property dispute solicitor.

How long does it take to obtain an accelerated possession order?

The accelerated possession procedure is essentially a fast track through the Courts and quicker than the standard possession procedure. The main reason for this is because it is hard for a tenant to defend proceedings under a section 21 as the tenancy in question has come to an end anyway and it is not necessary for the landlord to prove that the tenant has breached any terms of the tenancy in order to obtain possession. Consequently, a Court hearing is not usually necessary.

It is hard to give exact timings as to how long it takes from making the initial court application to receiving the Possession Order, especially in the wake of COVID-19 and the subsequent Court backlog. Timings will also differ depending on the Court in which the claim is issued. However, in most cases, a landlord should expect a turnaround within 2-4 months from filing the claim form. This is substantially quicker than the 6-12 months which is expected under the standard possession procedure.

Plans to abolish the accelerated possession procedure

The Government recently announced plans to abolish section 21 eviction notices, this will bring an end to the accelerated possession procedure. This means that eviction proceedings will only be available under the standard possession procedure via section 8 of the Housing Act 1988.

Whilst it is expected that changes will be made to section 8 notices and the standard possession procedure to balance out the conflicting interests of landlords and tenants, it is yet to be seen whether the changes will in fact make it easier for landlords to regain possession of their properties. Therefore, if you are a landlord requiring vacant possession of a property in the short-term future, now might be a good time to serve notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (provided you can) and initiate accelerated possession proceedings.

More information about the plans to abolish section 21 evictions can be found in our article, Renters Reform Bill: the abolition of the Section 21 “Eviction” Notice is fast approaching.

What can our Property Litigation lawyers do for you?

If you are a landlord seeking possession of a property, contact our specialist Landlord and Tenant solicitors. We are able to instigate possession proceedings for you and offer a fixed fee structure to ensure that you have certainty on costs.  We commit to serving any eviction notices within 48 hours of receiving the relevant papers and payment for instructions with the view to obtaining possession as quickly as possible.

Get Expert Legal Advice

Call 01206593933 and speak with David Sodimu or Aimee Phillips, specialist landlord solicitors. Or complete the form below.

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