What are the options for a residential landlord if their tenant owes rent?
One of the main issues faced by landlords is unpaid rent. If you are the owner of a residential property and are owed rent from a tenant, then it can be important to ensure that lines of communication are kept open with the tenant. While this is not a legal requirement, the courts will generally look favourably upon a landlord who has done everything they reasonably can to resolve matters informally before taking legal action.
It is also worth considering whether a solution can be reached through ADR, rather than going straight to court. ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) includes mediation, adjudication and arbitration. Not only are these alternative methods cheaper than commencing formal court proceedings, but they can be a much quicker route to resolving a dispute.
However, it is an unfortunate fact that some tenants refuse to cooperate or be reasonable. Arrears can quickly mount up and a situations go beyond the stage where informal resolution is possible. At this point, the landlord may have no alternative but to issue court proceedings for possession of the property and claim back the rent that the tenant owes.
To issue a proceeding for possession where a tenant owes rent, a landlord must first give notice to the tenant in compliance with the Housing Act 1988. The relevant grounds for possession, rent lawfully owed, can be found in Schedule 2 of the Act.
It should be noted that with mandatory grounds, if the legal requirements are satisfied, then the court must make an order for possession. With grounds that are discretionary grounds, the court has discretion whether or not to grant the order even if the grounds are fully made out.
It is crucial that the Notice for Possession is fully compliant with the law, as any errors, even minor ones, can lead to the application being struck out. The process will then have to be repeated, causing both delay and additional expense. We can assist you with the whole process. Our local courts are Exeter and Barnstaple in Devon and Taunton in Somerset, but we do undertake this type of work further afield. Our fees are as follows:
|Initial Legal Advice by Telephone|
Service of Notice (Section 8 for rent arrears or Section 21)
| £75 plus VAT|
£185 plus VAT
|Accelerated Possession Proceedings (no attendance at Court)||£475 plus VAT *|
|Possession Proceedings (Taunton, Exeter or Barnstaple County Courts)||£825 plus VAT *|
|Possession Proceedings (Other County Courts)|
Available on request
|Warrant of Possession – Bailiff Appointment (if required)||£160 plus VAT*|
* In addition to our own costs, you will also need to pay a Court issue fee. In respect of the Possession Proceedings, that fee is currently (as at September 2022) £355. The court fee to issue a Warrant of Possession is currently £130.
To discuss how we can help you recover rent and possession of your property give us a call on 0333 888 0404 or email us at [email protected].