Accelerated possession orders: FAQs

Landlords Nov 16, 2021

Evicting tenants is a lengthy and exhausting process that should only ever be used as a last resort. Unfortunately, there are rare instances in which the landlord has no other option but to seek possession of the property, forcing them to begin legal proceedings. For landlords with an assured shorthold tenancy, one means of hastening the eviction process is known as the accelerated possession procedure.

The accelerated possession order is an expedited procedure by which a landlord can evict a tenant without a lengthy court procedure. The process can only take place under specific conditions and is used to recover possession under Section 21.

To learn more about the possession order, read our FAQ down below.

What is an accelerated possession order?

An accelerated possession order is a relatively quick procedure by which a landlord can recover possession of property. The process allows landlords to avoid the long-winded court review and evaluation of an eviction application. This process should be used in situations when there is no dispute over a case’s facts. Landlords can only claim possession, meaning rent arrears cannot be claimed and must be pursued separately.

What are the grounds under which you can apply?

When applying for an accelerated possession procedure, a number of conditions must be fulfilled. Accelerated possession procedures are for assured shorthold tenancies. Most private tenants have assured shorthold tenancy (AST), usually characterized as a tenancy starting on or after February 28 1997 and does not include living with the property’s landlord.

For an accelerated possession order to take place, the tenancy cannot be a demoted AST, in which a court demotes a tenant’s occupancy due to problematic antisocial behaviour, making it more straightforward to evict them in the future. The assured shorthold tenancy must also comply with Section 19A of the Housing Act 1988.

Moreover, in an accelerated possession order, the tenancies in question must have been the subject of written agreement with the tenant or a statutory periodic tenancy. The landlord is required to serve a written notice, in accordance with Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, in which they request vacant possession of their property.

An accelerated possession order cannot be claimed in the first six months of an AST. After six months, under Section 21, landlords must give their tenants at least two months’ notice that they are claiming possession of property.

How do you apply for an accelerated possession order?

To apply for an accelerated possession procedure, Form N5B must be completed. Form N5B for England can be found here and Form N5B for Wales can be found here. Facts written in the form must be verified as true, with appropriate documentation types listed on the form. Upon completion, the form must be submitted to the nearest court that deals with housing possession.

After submission, the court will serve the defendants (the tenants) with the application and its respective attachments. The defendants then have 14 days to complete Form N11B, if they wish to oppose the application. If completed, the judge will then send the landlord a copy of the tenant’s application.

What happens next?

A judge will decide one of two things after all appropriate materials are submitted. Either a possession order will be issued, granting the landlord legal consent to evict the tenants and take back possession of property, or a court hearing will take place. More often than not, a possession order is granted. However, in cases of incorrectly filed paperwork or where there are critical points raised in the tenant’s defence, a hearing may take place. During the hearing, the judge can still grant a possession order.

How long does the process take?

If a possession order is granted, tenants will have 14 to 28 days to leave the property. In extenuating circumstances, the judge may grant up to 42 days. The process as a whole will typically take six to eight weeks to complete. The process may take longer depending on the case load at your local court. If tenants do not leave by the date provided, you will need to contact County Court bailiffs or a High Court Enforcement Officer to take necessary action.

How much does it cost?

The standard cost for an accelerated possession order is £355, making it a relatively cheaper option than traditional eviction procedures.

Accelerated possession orders are a cheaper and faster way to evict tenants if you find yourself in difficult circumstances. However, the order can only be claimed under specific circumstances, making it crucial for you to understand whether or not you qualify before starting the procedure. Eviction should only take place when all other options are exhausted. Learn more about regaining possession of your property here.

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