Posted by Tara Moseley, Solicitor
Good news for landlords: shorter process for enforcing an Order for Possession
Possession proceedings are burdensome, costly and time consuming for private landlords. This is why, once you’ve got an Order for Possession in your hands, you want to be able to enforce it as soon as possible.
But how easy is it to enforce the Order for Possession? When enforced using the County Court bailiffs, several weeks often pass before an appointment is made due to the bailiffs’ busy diaries. And that’s on top of 12 weeks it has already taken you to obtain the order!
What alternatives are there?
It has become common practice for landlords to instruct High Court Enforcement Officers to execute a writ of possession as an alternative. Programmes like “Can’t Pay? We’ll take it away!” have highlighted this procedure in the media.
This often provides a much quicker and more effective method for a landlord to evict tenants and recover possession of their property.
To take this route, the landlord has to make an application to the County Court to transfer the case to the High Court for a writ of possession. That Writ will not be granted until the High Court is satisfied that sufficient notice has been served on the occupants of the property, allowing those occupants the opportunity to apply for any relief they may be entitled to.
How is “sufficient notice” defined?
Until now, there has been no guidance as to what constituted “sufficient notice”. The Courts were looking at it as requiring actual notice of the application to transfer to the High Court to be provided to the occupants.
However, the Judgment in Partridge v Gupta (2017) EWCH 2110 (QB) has now removed this restriction, simplifying the process for landlords.
What changes has this Judgment introduced?
In this case, the Court held that formal notice of a landlord’s application to enforce possession through the High Court is not required if the occupants had sufficient knowledge of the possession proceedings. This decision both speeds up the route to possession and removes further notice restrictions placed upon landlords.
All that needs to be shown to the court is that the occupants simply have sufficient knowledge of the possession proceedings and were able to apply for any relief they were entitled to. If the occupant was not aware of the possession proceedings as they failed to engage with the process, or if there are other occupants at the property who are not subject to the order, then a simple letter detailing that the application has been made will be sufficient and no formal notice is required.
Good news for landlords
This is a positive judgment for landlords. The guidance set out by the Court will assist landlords who require possession of their property to be enforced quickly. It also enables landlords more efficient access to High Court Enforcement Officers and removes further onerous notice restrictions which lead to further delays.