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    I own a couple of rented properties and so far have never had to go through the eviction process but I'm trying to help a friend and would appreciate any input anyone can give me.

    Basically my friend did a really stupid thing. I won't bore you with why, but she bought a house on a mortgage that would make Richard Branson weep and then rented it to the tenant from hell who promptly stopped paying 5 months into a 12 month fixed term.

    I drew up her section 8 notice once two months were due and we issued proceedings yesterday on grounds 8,10,11,13 and 17. The hearing is scheduled for 6 weeks time.

    Now I know that we could lose ground 8 if the tenant pays some arrears prior to the hearing but what else could delay possession? We have a court hearing two months from service of Notice but I hear others saying their evictions take 9 months sometimes? What goes wrong? What spanners can we expect the tenants to throw in the works?

    Any insight or experiences would be welcomed.

    Out of the grounds you have issued the notice and summons on, ground 8 is the only one where the judge must make a possession order if satisfied that there were 8 weeks/2 months arrears both at the date of service of the notice and at the hearing date. The other two are discretionary grounds upon which you are unlikely to get a possession order alone.

    The tenant can pay you something to reduce the arrears to below the 8 week/2 months level at which point you will lose the automatic right to possession but will still get your costs (i.e. the court fee) - if this happens, you could ask for the judge to adjourn the hearing "sine die" (without a day) so that you could restore the hearing if the tenant subsequently lets arrears rise again - or the judge could impose a suspended possession order on terms under the other two grounds.

    Really, all the tenant can do is try and keep the arrears below 8 weeks/2 months and that is the only spanner that can be thrown into the court works. Whilst possessions do take some months, 9 months is about right - it depends where you measure it from - like this -

    1. Tenant accumulates arrears of 8 weeks - total so far 8 weeks.
    2. Landlord issues S8 notice - 2 weeks before can take action - TSF 10 weeks
    3. Landlord issues court summons for possession - court takes 10 working days to issue out to tenant - TSF 12 weeks.
    4. Tenant has 21 days to admit or defend including time for service - TSF 15 weeks.
    5. Court lists for hearing between 8 and 12 weeks hence - TSF 23 to 27 weeks.
    6. Court gives possession order 14 days hence. TSF 29 weeks.
    7. Tenant still resident - landlord issues Warrant of possession - bailiffs take 6 weeks before attending - TSF 35 weeks.

    Thats 8.75 months - not so far off your 9 months and assuming all this time you are not getting any money off the tenant!


      Yikes! All that wasted time.

      Thank you so much, that's really helpful. Can I ask you something else? When we got the Notice through for the hearing date there was a direction that witness statements should be filed at least two days before the hearing. I assume this means all other evidence as well?

      I'm interested in what you say about asking for an adjournment, if you lost ground 8 (i.e. they paid something) but decided to go for it on the other grounds would you lose that chance?

      How do suspended possession orders work?

      Sorry to ask so many questions but I'm more used to money claims and the proceedure for this seems quite different.


        Can I ask you something else? When we got the Notice through for the hearing date there was a direction that witness statements should be filed at least two days before the hearing. I assume this means all other evidence as well
        You can send it if you want to, but taking rent statements with you should be fine.

        but decided to go for it on the other grounds would you lose that chance?
        If you ask for an adjournment, you can't then stand there and try to continue your case on the other Grounds.

        How do suspended possession orders work?
        You could ask for suspended suspension based on the Grounds 10 and 11. The judge will agree an amount for the tenant to pay on top of the rent to reduce the arrears gradually. If the tenant defaults you apply back to court and request possession.


          I concur with RichieP - you have your answers in a nutshell!


            Yes, thank you both, we have a lot to think about.

            The reason I ask about other evidence is because two of the Grounds aren't rent related (damage and false statements).


              We recently went through a Section 8 procedure. We did send all the documents in before the hearing (but remember that you have to post a copy to the other party and have proof of posting. We did so from 2 different post offices and got certs of posting). We had items such as witness statements as well as the latest rent arrears information. The other side did not turn up and we had over 8 weeks arrears so got possession in 14 days - luckily our tenant from hell moved out whilst we were in court!
              Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me


                Thanks Islandgirl, them moving out during the hearing (or any time prior) would be perfect! (but we're not holding our breaths...).


                  Given the lengthy process to get a tenant out, it looks like it is far better to have a void than have a problem tenant. No wonder few landlords want DSS tenants.



                    I think you're right guitarman, far better to lose a few months at the beginning of a tenancy finding the right tenant than spend the last few months trying to get rid of a bad non paying one. My friend allowed herself to be rushed, got the worst tenant imaginable and as a result I think there is a better than even chance that she will lose the property altogether - she can't pay the mortgage.

                    One of my best tenants was DSS, she was fine, the council were a nightmare. Never again.


                      Sorry, just thought of another question...

                      I see that some considerable part of the delay can be the warrant of execution/bailiffs. If the tenants don't move out once you have your possession order and any time allowed has expired, do you have to use bailiffs or can you wait for them to go out and simply change the locks?


                        A legal eviction can only be carried out by a county court bailiff and locks can only be changed once said bailiff has returned possession of the property to you.

                        Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.


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