A common problem faced by landlords wanting to evict their tenants is that once a court has granted a Possession Order, the tenant still refuses to leave. This can be incredibly frustrating for the landlord as it may have already taken several months to obtain possession and they may have incurred substantial fees for legal representation, court costs and Counsel’s fees for a hearing.
A landlord’s best option for enforcing his Possession Order is to return to court and to seek a Warrant for Possession from the same County Court that issued the possession order. This is applied for by means of a separate application and costs £121. Unlike a Possession Order, a Warrant for Possession does not require a separate hearing as a landlord who has a Possession Order is automatically entitled to apply for a warrant after the date on which the tenant is due to give possession.
Once the warrant is issued, the matter will be sent to the bailiffs. The bailiffs will process the warrant and then inform the landlord and give confirmation as to the approximate date in which they will serve Notice on the date and time of eviction on the tenant and when the eviction is likely to take place.
The bailiffs will then send to the tenant a formal court document entitled Notice of Eviction. A tenant cannot lawfully prevent the bailiffs from carrying out the eviction without a court order. If a tenant decides to move out prior to the eviction, this should be agreed with the landlord to ensure their departure is managed appropriately.
If the tenant is a local authority tenant, the tenant may be told to stay in the property until they are evicted by the Local Authority. In these circumstances, the landlord may want to consider letting the process follow its course as if the tenant does not stay in the property until they are evicted they may be declared intentionally homeless by the local authority and will not be eligible for housing assistance.
It may be possible for the tenant to obtain a court order to suspend the Warrant for Possession. These will only be granted in certain circumstances and there must be an application to court and there is almost inevitably a hearing. The grounds the tenant could potentially use would depend on the grounds for the eviction. However, we have recently seen cases where a tenant applies for a suspension of a warrant on the grounds that they will pay any mortgage arrears due or make any rental payments. Whether or not a warrant is granted is solely in the discretion of the judge. The judge will either decide to grant the suspension, in which case the matter will be listed for another date or dismiss the application.
By going through the court process and taking legal advice early a landlord can ensure that the tenant is evicted lawfully. Here at Barrett & Co we are regularly instructed by landlords wishing to evict their tenants and can provide a complete service from providing the necessary Notice to the tenants through to, if necessary, working with the landlord to ensure effective enforcement a possession order to secure vacant possession of the property.
Our Litigation Team are on hand to talk you through the above procedure should you need their advice. Please contact us on 0118 958 9711 or [email protected].