Is Your Tenant Refusing To Leave After A Section 21 Notice?

tenant refusing to leave after section 21 notice

Ian McEwan, Property Disputes Solicitor

If you’ve served a section 21 notice on your tenant and they’re refusing to leave you need to apply to court for a possession order to get them out.

That shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you’ve done everything right though.

In  most cases where tenants refuse to leave after service of a section 21 notice it’s because they know that they don’t have to.

They know that they are protected from eviction until you get a court order.

And in some cases they actually need to wait until you get one before they can be rehoused by the Local Authority.


The Good News

The good news, if you have served your section 21 notice correctly, is that it’s relatively straightforward to get a possession order.

In fact there is a way that you can get a possession order without having to go to court at all.

That is via the “accelerated possession procedure”.


The Accelerated Procedure

Assuming that you satisfy a few prerequisites,  if your tenant doesn’t go following expiry of your section 21 notice you can apply to court via the “accelerated procedure” to get a possession order to evict them.

You might not want to go to court. In fact, going to court might be the last thing that you want to do.

With the accelerated procedure you don’t have to go anywhere.

It’s an entirely paper-based exercise.  There is no court hearing.


No Court Hearing

What that means is, unless your application is defended by the tenant (which is rare) the court will deal with your possession claim without you or your tenant being present.

A possession order will be made if the judge is satisfied that the tenancy has been brought to an end correctly by service of a section 21 notice and that the claim form has been served on the defendant.

So if the court is happy with your paperwork you should get your possession order without  having to step foot in a courtroom.


The Alternative

The alternative option is to use what is known as the “standard possession procedure” which involves the more traditional approach of holding a hearing in court to decide if a possession order should be granted.

The only advantage of using this procedure is it allows you to claim for arrears of rent at the same time as requesting an order for possession.

You can’t do that with the accelerated procedure, which is for possession applications only.


The Benefits

The benefits of the accelerated procedure, even where there are arrears of rent, are considerable.

It’s obviously a lot cheaper given that you don’t need to instruct an advocate to represent you at a court hearing.

And it’s also a lot quicker as you don’t have to wait for a hearing date to become available in a court system that is already overworked.

A further benefit is the greater certainty that the accelerated procedure provides.  All that is the required is that your paperwork is in order.

When you go to court to evict a tenant, you can get all the way to the hearing to find that the judge can be influenced by arguments put forward by a bad tenant.

The accelerated procedure takes away all of this uncertainty.

It also takes away the animosity that can sometimes arise between landlords and tenants in the build up to, and during a court hearing.


You’ve Got To Get It Right

As I’ve said above, if the court is happy with your paperwork, you’ll get your order, and the tenant won’t get the chance to be a problem.

But as the courts are reluctant to evict anyone without being absolutely certain that the right to do so has arisen, it is essential that you get your paperwork right.

Any errors and you might find that you have to start the process all over again.


Evicting A Tenant When There Are Rent Arrears

It can be very frustrating when a tenant withholds payment of the rent, and you may really want to take them to court to get an order for them to pay you back what they owe.

But before you do that you should weigh everything up.

How much do they owe?  Will they ever be able to pay it back?   How long would that take?  And would the time and cost of going to court be worth it?

In a lot of cases it’s preferable to use the accelerated procedure (and put chasing the arrears on hold) than to go to court to try to evict the tenant at a hearing.

If you’ve got a bad tenant you’re probably not going to recover the outstanding rent anyway, so getting a quick possession order to get your property back using the accelerated procedure is often a better decision.


If Your Tenant Is Refusing To Leave After A Section 21 Notice…

…get in touch.!

I deal with these applications for landlords all the time.

Give me a call if you’d like a hand with this.  I’d be happy to have a chat about it with you.

Get In Touch

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I’ll then get in touch as soon as I can for a chat about your legal rights and options.

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