Recent figures show that 49% of landlords have experienced rental arrears in the last 12 months and 36% of landlords are worried about instances in the months ahead. Penham Excel’s legal partners Wilkin Chapman has a dedicated team advising landlords on all tenancy issues including: preparing tenancy agreements, serving notices, taking court action to remove troublesome tenants and disrepair claims.
With over 19 years’ experience of dealing with possession claims, Wilkin Chapman can offer you:
- 19 years’ experience of dealing with possession claims for a variety of landlords and businesses;
- A guarantee to serve any notices, or issue any proceedings, on the same day if we receive all details before midday or the following day if received after midday;
- A full explanation of the process at the outset and;
- Updates as the case progresses;
- A promise to keep to our quoted fixed fee prices;
- A quick, efficient and cost effective service.
Stage 1 – Notices
For assured shorthold tenancies there are two types of notices that can be served on a tenant requiring them to give up possession of the property.
- Section 21 Notice
- Section 8 Notice
Section 21 Notice
A Section 21 Notice must be in writing. It must give the tenant at least 2 clear months notice to vacate (not 8 weeks which is a mistake often made).
A quick efficient service
Remember – if you have taken a deposit for the property after April 2007 or have renewed the tenancy since that date, if you have not protected the deposit and served the prescribed information within the required period, any section 21 notice you serve will be invalid.
For all new tenancies granted from 1 October 2015
There are additional requirements to be complied with before you can serve a section 21 notice. Every tenant must be given a copy of:
- The Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- The Gas Safety record for the property at the start of the tenancy
- The Gas Safety record which is completed every 12 months during the tenancy
- The “How to Rent – Checklist for renting in England and Wales” booklet downloaded from GOV.UK website – it is regularly updated so make sure you use the most up to date version.
There are also new rules preventing Landlords serving a section 21 notice when a tenant has raised issues of disrepair – known as “Retaliatory Evictions”. You cannot serve a section 21 notice in the first 4 months of the tenancy and the notice is only valid for 6 months from date it is served. There is also a prescribed form of section 21 Notice.
Section 8 Notice
A Section 8 Notice can be used when the tenant is in arrears and the notice must be in a prescribed form.
It is most commonly used in cases of rent arrears (but can be used in other circumstances e.g. antisocial behaviour or other breach of tenancy).
There are different grounds under Section 8 – they appear in Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988. Grounds 8, 10 and 11 are the main grounds and the wording of each ground must be specified in the notice.
A full explanation of the process and case progress
Both at the date of the service of the Notice under Section 8 of this Act relating to the proceedings for possession and at the date of the hearing –
- if rent is payable weekly or fortnightly, at least 8 weeks’ rent is unpaid;
- if rent is payable monthly, at least 2 months’ rent is unpaid;
- If rent is payable quarterly, at least 1 quarter’s rent is more than 3 months in arrears.
- If rent is payable yearly, at least 3 months’ rent is more than 3 months in arrear and for the purposes of this, ground rent means rent lawfully due from the tenant.
Some rent lawfully due from the tenant:
- is unpaid on the date on which the proceedings for possession are begun; and b) except where sub-section (1)
- of Section 8 of this Act applies, was in arrears at the date of the service of the Notice under that Section relating to those proceedings.
Whether or not any rent is in arrears on a date on which proceedings for possession are begun, the tenant has persistently delayed rent which has become lawfully due.
This type of notice gives the tenant two weeks to vacate the premises or pay the arrears before proceedings for possession can be issued.
In our experience the tenant rarely pays after a section 8 notice is served and possession proceedings usually follow.
Same day or next day service guaranteed
It is best to use a section 8 notice when the tenant is two months or 8 weeks in arrears. Under Ground 8 the court must give a possession order if the tenant has 2 months, or 8 weeks, arrears when the notice is served and when the court hearing takes place.
Our fees* for Stage 1 preparing notices, are £75.00 (including VAT) per notice served by 1st class post.
Stage 2 Possession Proceedings
If, when the Section 21 or Section 8 Notice expires, the tenant has not vacated the property possession proceedings must be issued otherwise you may face an unlawful eviction claim and prosecution by the local authority.
The local authority will not re-house until a possession order is made.
If the local authority find out about the arrears they will treat the tenant as intentionally homeless and may not re-house them at all.
Our fees* for Stage 2 issuing proceedings, attending the first hearing and obtaining a possession order are £840* (including a court fee and VAT).
We keep to our quoted fixed fee prices
If the tenant defends the proceedings or disputes the claim then further charges may be payable.
Stage 3 Warrants
If the tenant fails to vacate after the possession order is given then a Warrant of Possession will have to be issued.
Our fees* for Stage 3 for drafting and issuing the Warrant are £200 (this includes the court fee and VAT).
What we need from you:
- The tenancy agreement.
- Full names and addresses of the landlord and the tenant.
- A rent statement in four columns
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The enables the Judge the see clearly what the arrears are on any given date including on the date of service of the notice and the date of the court hearing – relevant for Section 8 notices.
- Short details of efforts made by you to collect the arrears and any correspondence.
- Confirmation of protection of any deposit.
- Copy of any notices served (if you have served notice yourself).
Find out more, contact Wilkin Chapman
Jonathan West Partner
DDI 01472 262632 Fax 01472 360198 Email: email@example.com
Joshua Briggs Legal Executive
DDI 01472 262650 Fax 01472 360198 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hayley Browne Trainee Legal Executive
DDI 01472 265985 Fax 01472 360198 Email: email@example.com