Residential Possession Proceedings

More often than not, if a tenant does not leave a property voluntarily, then, to evict them lawfully the landlord will usually have to follow the following key stages to obtain possession lawfully:

  1. Serve the relevant notice(s) and await expiry of the prescribed notice period. The most common form of notices will be served pursuant to:
    • Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, which can be used to seek possession at the end of a fixed term tenancy; or
    • Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 if there are rent arrears.
  2. Issue a possession claim (formal Court documents). Generally, a landlord two potential routes to obtain a possession order:
  3. Obtain a ‘possession order’ – if the claim is unopposed then this is usually quite straight forward, but the tenant will be given an opportunity to defend the claim.
  4. Apply for the warrant for possession (‘notice of eviction’) – executed by the Court bailiffs.

If a landlord excludes an occupier from a property without following the correct procedures, that landlord could be deemed to have unlawfully evicted the occupier and may face (a) civil claim by the tenant for an injunction to be let back into the property, plus damages (which could be significant) and costs; and (b) criminal prosecution.