Possession order court hearing - my experience

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    Possession order court hearing - my experience

    I fumbled my way through PCOL and filled it out as best i could (I have no legal background so all my responses to the various questions were in plain English). It's all fairly straight forward, though one word of warning - the system annoyingly times out fairly quickly, so if you find yourself getting carried away writing up background information you may find you lose it all when you hit the "next" button to take you to the next page, which is extremely annoying if you have re-written it 5 times and think it now reads perfectly ! Especially when it happens to you more than once !! Best to write it up in something like word and then copy and paste later.

    It costs £100, you select the county court and then wait. I got a hearing date back after 2 days (for 6 weeks later), which I thought was reasonable given this crossed the Christmas period.

    I wasn't sure what to expect at the hearing as it tells you very little on PCOL about what you need to do besides responding to the various questions as you move through the screens.

    In the end I prepared a file based on various posts on this forum, separately tabbed for ease of reference. There is no definitive list but I included the following:

    Summary of events (in date order)
    AST agreement
    Receipts for deposit and rent paid
    Correspondence file (e-mails / rent reminders etc.)
    Rent account statement
    Estimated admin costs (this was rather pointless)

    The hearing wasn't what I was expecting at all. Having not been to court as far as i can remember and not really remembering much about the legal system, I was slightly surprised to be lead into a small room where the court judge sat, a couple of tables and a few chairs. Noone else was there and the tenant didn't bother turning up anyway, which was not a surprise given they had no defence.

    The judge had obviously read through the PCOL information beforehand though still took the time to read through the summary I had prepared (so definitely worth doing this). He had a quick look through the AST and the up-to-date rent account - literally a few minutes. Interestingly he commented that we could have gone down the accelerated possession route even though we were only 4 months into a 12 month contract, which have resulted in an earlier hearing.

    In any event, we were given the possession order with immediate effect and he told us to go and change the locks. The tenant had already vacated so we were very lucky. They will also get a CCJ for the arrears and court costs.

    I have written down my experience as I hope others will find it useful, though every case is different. I was somewhat concerned about representing myself, but was very pleasantly surprised. The worst part is the hassle and preparing all the paperwork for the hearing.

    One question for those of you who have gone through this nasty business with problem tenants before. The judge mentioned that as I have both the tenants bank details and know his employment details I could apply to his bank for the amount owed or obtain an attachment of earnings from his employer. My wife would prefer to draw a line under this affair, keep his deposit and put the rest of the loss down to experience (and to be considerably more wary next time we find a tenant). What's the general view ?

    Thank you very much for posting all that - it's interesting and useful stuff.

    As far as 'hanging on in there' for an attachment of earnings order, it's obviously your decision; if the amount is piddly and if you feel you're sick to the back teeth with it all, then I agree - let it go and get on with your life.

    However, if after you've kept the deposit, T still owes you more than say £500, I would definitely pursue it. If nothing else, I think that wherever possible, people should pay their debts...but that has to be balanced, as you say, with the cost to your emotional energy stores!
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


      Thanks for your sharing your experience U187146, its very interesting to hear. I myself am going for a hearing next week see my thread



        Find it quite surprising that the judge gave you advice on what to do next ! He must have liked you.
        All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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          Just goes to show what you can achieve by a little preparation, and shows that you don't need to be frightened by going to court.

          One of my tenants still owes me just over £200 on a monthly rent of £395. His standing order has never been altered despite my sending him two or three to complete over the years, and it is always £20 light since the rent was increased two years ago. He has paid one or two interim amounts, but faithfully promised to pay off arrears by the end of November but has failed to do so. Rather than serve notices and go for possession I am going the SCC route as a debt as I prefer that most of the rent is paid for the time being. He's always paid the standing order on time but having given him every opportunity to do something, my patience has been tested. I hope the mere threat pays dividends as he has until next week to settle.
          The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


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