Recovering Rent Arrears – Frequently Asked Questions

Faye Craggs, a Solicitor with 10 years of Landlord and Tenant litigation experience, is part of Terry Jones Solicitors’ dedicated Landlord and Tenant team and assists Landlords with Private Rental Sector enquiries with specific expertise in the recovery of possession of property and rent arrears.

What is the first thing I should do if rent is not paid?

Speak to the Tenant; whether this is by text, phone call, email or a request to meet them in person. Opening a dialogue early on helps you to understand the issue but also lets the Tenant know that the late payment has been noted and will not be permitted.

How do I start the eviction process?

Serving a section 8 notice is the first step to evicting Tenants for rent arrears. This is a two week notice and should be served upon all Tenants. We also advise sending a copy to any Guarantors.   There may be alternative options if the original term of the AST has expired.  

 Am I able to serve the section 8 notice myself?

Yes, however it is important to ensure the notice is valid and that service can be proved.  Any invalidity may lead to a Court claim being dismissed and thus costing a landlord time delay, loss of costs paid for the claim and possible further loss of rent. If you have any doubts you should seek legal advice.

Do I need two months’ rent arrears in order to serve a Ssction 8 notice?

No. You can serve a Section 8 notice when you have less than two months rent arrears relying upon Grounds 10 and 11 (persistent delay in paying rent).  However these are only discretionary grounds for possession and so the Court have discretion whether or not to grant a possession order and may not do so.  Most Landlords will therefore wait until they have two months rent arrears so that they can rely upon Ground 8 which is a mandatory ground for possession, and therefore represents a much more robust claim.    

What do I do if the Tenants do not voluntarily vacate upon expiry of the notice?

The next step would be to issue Court proceedings seeking an Order for Possession and Judgment for the rent arrears by lodging the relevant claim form at the court and paying the appropriate fee

What are the Court fees?

The fees are currently £355.00, if you issue proceedings by paper, or £325.00 if you issue using the online Possession Claims On-line system.  If you ultimately have to issue a warrant and instruct the County Court Bailiffs to evict the Tenants the cost is currently £121.00.

Can I avoid going to Court?

If the Tenants do not voluntarily vacate then you must obtain a Court Order to secure possession of the property. Failure to do so will mean that any eviction is unlawful.   Any unlawful eviction caries with it potential criminal sanctions and may give rise to rights of the tenants whom have been evicted to claim damages from the landlords. 

What is the one tip you would give a Landlord who has Tenants in rent arrears?

Act quickly and follow the process carefully. Every month you delay action because a Tenant makes promises is another months’ lost rent. There are plenty of good Tenants out there for you to waste time and lose money on a bad one.

What can I do if I require your advice?

Contact our offices and ask to speak to Faye Craggs or another member of the dedicated Landlord and Tenant team. 01743 218450 / faye.craggs@terry-jones.co.uk

 

 

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