PCOL HELP! - Due in court next week. How do I prepare, What happens next?

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    PCOL HELP! - Due in court next week. How do I prepare, What happens next?

    I am seeking possession of one of my properties. I have issued the tenant with a section 8 (FORM-3), and applied for the possession order online using PCOL. The tenant also owes me several months rent (£12k+) - complicated story I don't want to get into now. Obviously, I have put in a claim on the arrears owed and I'm seeking to recover monies due me.

    We are due in court next week. This is my first time going through this. My questions are:

    1. What (if anything), in terms of documentation etc., do I need to take to court?
    2. What actually happens in the court room - what can I expect to happen (in terms of procedures etc.)
    3. Regarding getting the tenant out - what do I get her out of my property? Do I go over to the property after the court and tell her to clear out of my property?, or do bailiffs have to get involved (at additional costs etc.) ?
    4. Regarding the monies owed, do I need to do anything else in terms of getting her to commit to some repayment plan or something (she has breached several of these in the past). In short, how do I get mydamned money back - or at least, a good portion of it back?

    I hope to get some good advice from someone who has walked this path before.

    #2
    1 - The main thing will be three copies of everything (one for you, one for the judge and one for the tenant - if they show up). You want the tenancy agreement, the notice, anything else that's useful - all in hard copy. A complete schedule of all rent due and all rent paid to demonstrare the arrears. If you've inspected the property recently, any evidence of that would be useful in case the tenant tries to claim there's something wrong with the property, and that's why they're not paying rent.

    2 - It's you and the tenant in an office (usually) with the judge. You hang around in a waiting room and are called by a clerk, who may or may not stay in the room. It's a bit formal, but there's no wigs or stuff like that. It takes a few minutes only.

    3 - You can't retake possession. It has to be bailiffs. You can ask the judge to escalate the issue to the high court to allow you to use high court enforcement officers, who may have a shorter lead time than the county court bailiffs. Your justification for this is that the tenant is in arrears and is not able to pay, and this will simply mean they owe more money the longer the bailiffs need. You will normally get a possession order for 14 days - after which bailiffs can remove the tenant (if necessary) and return possession to you. County court bailiffs lead times can be weeks or months. You would add the costs of the bailiffs to the amount the tenant owes (as well as the court costs, which go to the loser of the case).

    4 - The court wiil make a decision about the debt, and may (but not always) talk about how it is to be repaid. Typically, they confirm that the tenant has to pay the amount owed and recovering it is a separate process. The chances of recovering your money aren't great - you can't get money from someone who hasn't got it. For your mental well being it's best to think of the money as profit not made, not "your" money "lost".
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

    Comment


      #3
      Remember to ask the judge to include in the judgement that the deposit is to be paid to you, otherwise deposit schemes will consider the money to still belong to the tenant.

      Comment


        #4
        Another tip is make sure you produce the docs in a good sized font - I use size 16. It makes it easier to point things out which invariably you have to as the judges own paperwork is often missing I find.



        Freedom at the point of zero............

        Comment


          #5
          jpkeates Thank you most kindly, for your detailed response. Much appreciated.

          Comment


            #6
            I recently went to court after serving a section 8 notice on a tenant who owed rent arrears. The court hearing itself took less than 5 minutes, and the judge ordered as follows:


            This order has been made on mandatory grounds and the court orders that

            1. The defendant give the claimant possession of XXX, XXX on or before dd/mm/yy (within 14 days)

            2. And it is adjudged that the claimant recover against the defendant the sum of £XXX for debt and interest to date of judgment
            and £0.00 for costs amounting together to the sum of £XXX.

            And the defendant having paid the sum of £0.00

            It is ordered that the defendant pay the sum of £XXX to the claimant.


            This is good on paper, as it is technically, what I'm after. The devil however (I fear) , might be in the detail. The tenant turned up with 2 defence solicitors (paid by the taxes you and I pay), and had intended to contest the case, despite having effectively lived without paying rent for almost a year. Luckily, the judge was not having any of it.

            The fact that she had the temerity to turn up and try to contest this informs me that she may dig her heels in a bit, and so I want to know how I actually get poscession(if there's anything else I have to do), and also, how I get her to start paying back (if even it's £1 a week - I'm not letting here get away with it), with the threat of giving her a CCJ if she misses a single payment.
            I'm rather ashamed to say that since it was my first time, I was rather intimidated by the whole afair (thanks to @jpkeats et. al for helping me get prepared before the hearing), I did ask the judge what the ruling meant, and he said (rather curtly): "you have possession within 14 days and your claim for rent arrears has been upheld", and kind of "waved me off" as if to show myself out of the court. I didn't want to say anything further to antagonise him, since he had after all, given me what I came for - with little fuss. He was pretty much a "no nonsense" guy.

            Anyway, so to my questions:

            1. Do I simply turn up 14 days from when the order was made by the judge and "physically" take possession? What happens if the tenant is still there and refuses to budge?

            2. Getting (at least part of) my arrears back
            The order states:

            The claimant will send you a copy of the bill of costs with a notice telling you what to do if you object to this amount.If
            you do object, the claimant will ask the court to fix a hearing to assess the amount.

            i). Is there a template one could recommend for such a letter?

            ii). If the tenant objects to the amount, do I have to pay (yet again) to go to court to fix a hearing to access the amount? (which forms to use?)
            iii). Also, I want to make sure that if she renegs on any payment plan she agrees to (she has in the past), then basically, I want a CCJ awarded against her name until she pays off the debt. How do I do this?


            Comment


              #7
              Wait and see what happens on expiry - send notice of inspection for day after, see situation then, if still there book bailiffs.

              It's not your property, it's tenants home, tenant's property whilst there is a tenancy, even if rent not paid, it's nerelm currently your investment

              After you get possession enforce CCJ to ensure his last few gets harder.

              Good luck!
              I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

              Comment


                #8
                The tenant is likely to ask for the 14 days to be extended.
                It's free for them to do and there's no downside to them, so it's common.
                The threshold for a judge awarding an extension is "exceptional hardship", which is a very high bar and it's almost impossible for a tenant to meet it.
                It's just another 1 minute hearing to go through.

                You can't retake possession, it has to be a court officer.
                If she's still in the property the day after the order expires, contact the county court bailiffs and book them for the repossession.
                Ask if they have any cancellations. The lead time is likely to be several weeks.
                Don't stress about that, it's just part of the process.

                Keep track of the rent still not being paid, because the tenant owes that as well (right up until they leave or are evicted).
                The bailiff's fees are also part of your next claim (use Money Claim Online).

                The ccj isn't automatically registered when it's a possession hearing, so write (letter and envelope!) to the court asking that they register the judgement, so it will show up in future credit searches.

                Assuming the tenant doesn't pay, you complete Form N316 and pay £50.00 when you submit it.
                The tenant is required to attend a court and give details of their income and assets.
                Some notes on the process here - https://www.moneyclaimsuk.co.uk/orde...formation.aspx
                The rest of that web site is helpful.

                When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post

                  It's not your property, it's tenants home, tenant's property whilst there is a tenancy ...
                  And people wonder why Landlord's sometimes resort to drastic measures (not that I would), but I'm certainly not going to be "Mr. fawking Nice Guy" aftr this. I consider it my tuition fee for "empathasing" with a tenant.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Best to take a professional view and keep emotions out of it. It's a business.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                      If she's still in the property the day after the order expires, contact the county court bailiffs and book them for the repossession.
                      Ask if they have any cancellations. The lead time is likely to be several weeks.

                      Update
                      I went to the flat after the order expired, only to be met by her daughter - who had the temerity to ask me what I was doing knocking on their door (she claimed she that they had not heard anything from the court and have no idea of a date by which to leave the premise) - the mum was off at work (whilst refusing to pay her rent).

                      Sorry to be a pain or appear dumb - but what EXACTLY do you mean by contact THE county court baillifs ... I am guessing that you are reffeing to the county court I attended and which made the order of eviction? Is my assumption correct?

                      Also, earlier on in this discussion, you mentioned that I should ask the Judge during the hearing, to escalate the matter to the high court (although I couldn't furing the hearing, because the gruff, robust manner of the judge - who put me off my stride) - is there a way to accelerate this to the high court at this stage? I am haemorraging £50 a day with a housing benefit claimant who owes me upward of £16K at the moment (and is unlikely to pay a meaningful portion of the arrears), and every day delayed further aggravates the situation. How do I legally get her out ASAP, to stop this madness?!
                      Last edited by TakashiJo; 14-02-2019, 16:22 PM. Reason: Emotive language reducted, clarified objectives of the post

                      Comment


                        #12
                        The court that awarded the possession order employs bailiffs to execute their orders.
                        Each county court has its own set of bailiffs.
                        That's who you should speak to to enforce the order (always ask if they have any cancellations).

                        The alternative is to use a High Court Enforcement company (which are the one's you see on Can't Pay on TV).
                        They would be able to assist you in getting the court's permission to transfer the case to the high court and then act on it.
                        They aren't employed by the court and often have a) shorter lead times and b) much higher fees.
                        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          And don't turn up uninvited or without notice at your tenant's home, that's a bad move.
                          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                          Comment


                            #14
                            And another thing, after I have successfully gained possession of the flat, I will be seeking to recover at least some of the rent arrears. £10K of the arrears came about, because she somehow managed to get the council to pay the money directly to her - without my consent. I want to rope the council in on the claim for arrears as well - because although she defrauded them, they facilitated it because I did not give my consent for the money to be paid directly to the tenant.

                            Can I include the council in my claim - given that they were not explicitly mentioned in my initial claim (although I produced documentation showing payments being made directly to the tenant instead of myself - without my authorisation)?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                              And don't turn up uninvited or without notice at your tenant's home, that's a bad move.
                              I made sure I stayed outside the door - and had a witness with me. I did not enter the premise. Still sound advice. Much appreciated.

                              Comment

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