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Accelerated Possession & Standard Possession

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There are two main eviction processes: s.21 accelerated procedure - the "no fault" basis; and s.8 standard procedure - the "at fault" basis. The differences are briefly outlined below:

s.21 "Accelerated" Possession Claims

This is the "no fault" ground for seeking possession where the tenant is not in default or in breach of the tenancy agreement. The process is effectively based on (a) the landlord having complied with its statutory obligations, (b) the correct notice having been served and (c) the notice expires no sooner than the end of the contractual fixed term of the tenancy. Providing these conditions have been met, recovering possession should be straightforward.

A s.21 claim does not rely on any breach of the tenancy agreement and similarly does not include a claim for rent arrears if any exist.

The process begins by the landlord giving the tenant a notice in the specified form that the tenancy will end. The content of the notice and the proceedings must be compliant with the relevant legislation. Even minor defects in the paperwork can prevent the court from making an order and significantly delay possession. The notice cannot end the tenancy any earlier than the fixed contractual term and the notice cannot be any shorter than two months. On expiry of the notice, if the tenant has failed to give up possession, then court proceedings will need to be started. Providing that the correct procedure has been used and the tenant does not have a defence to the claim, then the claim will normally be dealt with "on paper" by the judge, without the need for a court hearing. This can result in a relatively quick outcome.

The advantage of the s.21 procedure is:

  • The Judge will decide the outcome on the paperwork alone if the case is not defended
  • This procedure usually results in an earlier decision, without the need for a hearing
  • If done properly, possession will be granted automatically

s.8 "Standard" Possession Claims (rent arrears ground)

This is the "at fault" ground for possession where possession is based on the tenant's default, most commonly non-payment of rent.

If your tenant fails to pay rent in full or on time and the arrears accrue to a minimum level, then it may be possible to serve a s.8 notice seeking possession. Under this process, in order for the court to order possession under mandatory grounds, the tenant must have fallen into a minimum requisite level of rent arrears both by:

  • The date of the s.8 notice; and
  • The date of the possession hearing

It is necessary under this procedure to prove to the court that there has been a breach of the tenancy agreement and there is always at least one court hearing.

The advantage of the s.8 procedure is:

  • Shorter notice period than s.21
  • The landlord can claim for rent arrears plus interest, as well as possession, in one claim
  • Fewer s.8 claims are defended

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