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Landlord Possession Proceedings and Particulars of Claim

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Landlord and tenant solicitors have seen a massive rise in enquiries from landlords seeking possession of residential properties and tenants seeking legal advice on whether they can defend the possession proceedings. In this article our landlord and tenantlawyers look at the topic of possession proceedings and drafting particulars of claim.

Online and London based landlord and tenant solicitors 

If you need legal advice about starting possession proceedings and securing possession of residential property then thelandlord and tenant team at OTS Solicitors can help you. Call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form for an appointment by video conference or telephone.

 Starting possession proceedings

Landlord and tenant solicitors tell landlords that it is vital that preparation time goes in before possession proceedings are started as without advance work the possession proceedings may fail or be delayed.

The first step in starting the court process of a possession application is to file a claim form in the county court. The claim needs to be supported by a particulars of claim document referred to as form N119.

Although starting possession proceedings begins with a claim form, landlord and tenant solicitors will tell you that the key to successful possession proceedings is to ensure that before starting the court case:

  • You carefully consider the nature of the tenancy and read the tenancy agreement.
  • You identify the grounds for a possession order.
  • You serve the relevant notice as residential possession proceedings can be started under a procedure called section 21 or section 8 notice.
  • The notice served on the tenant is compliant and contains all the prescribed information required.

Where to start possession proceedings

You can file a possession claim in any county court to secure a possession order. However, the court will transfer the proceedings to the hearing centre that covers the address where the tenanted property is situated. It is therefore normally best to file the claim in the county court local to the property.

In rare cases claims are started in the high court but it is best to take expert legal advice before starting possession proceedings if you think that the case is sufficiently complex to require issue in the high court.

What are particulars of claim?  

The practice direction 55 specifies that a landlord seeking a possession order must file a particulars of claim when applying for possession. The particulars are meant to include all or the majority of the information needed for the court to process the claim.

What must be included in the particulars of claim?

When you are starting possession proceedings the particulars of claim must:

  • Identify the land or property that the possession proceedings relate to and provide the full
  • Specify if the possession proceedings relate to a residential property.
  • Indicate the ground on which possession is claimed and give details of the tenancy agreement and any mortgage on the property. The specific nature of the tenancy agreement needs to be specified, for example, an assured shorthold tenancy.
  • Specify who is in possession of the property.
  • If the possession proceedings relate to a residential property let on a tenancy agreement and possession is sought for non-payment of rent the particulars of claim should say how much rent is outstanding at the start of the possession proceedings and provide a schedule of the dates and amounts of payments due and payments made under the tenancy agreement for a period of two years immediately before the start of the possession proceedings or from the first date of first non-payment. In addition, you need to provide a running total of the rent arrears together with the daily rate of any rent and interest. If the rent arrears cover more than two years this needs to be stated and a detailed schedule annexed to a witness statement.
  • Specify any action taken to recover the arrears of rent with details of any previous court proceedings and provide any known relevant information about the circumstances, such as whether the tenant is in receipt of housing or other social security benefits.
  • If the possession proceedings are due to the conduct of the tenant, then the particulars of claim must detail the conduct that has resulted in the possession application. For example, details of the tenant’s anti-social behaviour or specific breaches of terms of the tenancy agreement.

Possession proceedings and COVID-19

For possession proceedings started on or after the 3 August 2020, or stayed claims, the landlord starting the possession proceedings must also show that they have complied with the Pre-Action Protocol and providing information to the county court as to effect of COVID-19 on their tenant.

This means a landlord has to say what knowledge they have as to the effect of the COVID-19 global pandemic on the tenant and their dependants and the landlord has to serve on the tenant not less than fourteen days prior to the hearing the notices setting out what knowledge the landlord has as to the effect of COVID-19 on the tenant and any dependants of the tenant.

Possession proceedings and the drafting of particulars of claim can be complicated so if you are unsure of the procedure, it is best to get specialist help.

Online and London based landlord and tenant solicitors

For expert advice on possession proceedings or on any aspect of landlord and tenant law call the friendly and efficient landlord and tenant team at London based OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete the online enquiry form for a video call or telephone appointment.

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