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Tenant Filed Defence after Accelerated Possession Order

Started by DiamondsForever, January 25, 2024, 10:47:43 PM

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DiamondsForever

Hoping someone can help. Tenant is in over 7k rental arrears and has filed a defence after accelerated possession order served. They have lied on the form stating the property is in disrepair and they are being harassed when as a landlord I have evidence that I have done everything by the book. My question is what are the next steps? Can I submit evidence to the courts to give them my side of the story? Will there be a hearing? How likely is judge to order tenants to move out in 14 days?

jpkeates

There's not an option to file a defence after a possession order. Do you mean you've made a possession claim?

If so, there'll probably be a hearing, which you and the tenant need to attend, amend yes, you'll be able to provide evidence (which won't, technically be a defence, because it's your claim).

Some of this depends on the basis of the claim, if there is one. There's no defence based on disrepair possible for a claim based on a section 21 notice, but there is for a section 8 notice for rent owed.

DiamondsForever

Quote from: jpkeates on January 26, 2024, 08:51:09 AMThere's not an option to file a defence after a possession order. Do you mean you've made a possession claim?

If so, there'll probably be a hearing, which you and the tenant need to attend, amend yes, you'll be able to provide evidence (which won't, technically be a defence, because it's your claim).

Some of this depends on the basis of the claim, if there is one. There's no defence based on disrepair possible for a claim based on a section 21 notice, but there is for a section 8 notice for rent owed.

The tenants were served with Section 21 and then I applied for Accelerated Possession. However, the tenants did not vacate the property within 14 days and instead filed a defence. I was in the process of asking courts to transfer case to the high court and getting high enforcement officers to remove the tenants.

They have lied so many times on the defence form and are just looking to buy more time in the property at my expense. I am hoping the judge will see right through their lies because I have evidence.

They were served a Money Claim Online order which they did not defend, but I am yet to take the next step to recover 7k rental arrears; I am aware of the fact that I may never see any of this money again.

jpkeates

Quote from: DiamondsForever on January 26, 2024, 03:14:40 PMThe tenants were served with Section 21 and then I applied for Accelerated Possession. However, the tenants did not vacate the property within 14 days and instead filed a defence. I was in the process of asking courts to transfer case to the high court and getting high enforcement officers to remove the tenants.
There's a step missing from that account between "applied for an Accelerated Possession" and the tenant needing to vacate. Either the court awarded you possession, in which case there's no opportunity for a defence, or they didn't and it's not possible to instruct bailiffs yet.

If the court has awarded possession, it's more likely that the tenant is either asking for the possession order to be increased from 14 days on the basis of extreme hardship or are appealing on the basis that they didn't know about the court hearing where a possession order was issued.

But, either way, there's no defence for a s21 notice based on disrepair or harassment. The defences to a s21 notice are entirely procedural - deposit not protected, no Gas Safety Certificate, that kind of thing.

DiamondsForever

Quote from: jpkeates on January 26, 2024, 03:42:08 PM
Quote from: DiamondsForever on January 26, 2024, 03:14:40 PMThe tenants were served with Section 21 and then I applied for Accelerated Possession. However, the tenants did not vacate the property within 14 days and instead filed a defence. I was in the process of asking courts to transfer case to the high court and getting high enforcement officers to remove the tenants.
There's a step missing from that account between "applied for an Accelerated Possession" and the tenant needing to vacate. Either the court awarded you possession, in which case there's no opportunity for a defence, or they didn't and it's not possible to instruct bailiffs yet.

If the court has awarded possession, it's more likely that the tenant is either asking for the possession order to be increased from 14 days on the basis of extreme hardship or are appealing on the basis that they didn't know about the court hearing where a possession order was issued.

But, either way, there's no defence for a s21 notice based on disrepair or harassment. The defences to a s21 notice are entirely procedural - deposit not protected, no Gas Safety Certificate, that kind of thing.

Ahhh I see what you mean. They are defending the possession order claim. I have read the following on the net regarding the reasons they can use for defence:

The landlord fails to give them proper notice for evicting them from the property.
The landlord tries to use the accelerated possession procedure without proper legal rights to do so.

Does that mean the courts will not take notice of the lies they have told about the disrepair of the property?

I am anxious about going to court for a hearing and really hoping the judge will tell them to leave within 14 days!

jpkeates

Right. So there's no possession order, yet.

A court hearing is anxiety inducing, but for you and the tenant. But, you need to turn up (or send a solicitor), not turning up means the claim will be dismissed (or, if you're the tenant, awarded by default). It's stressful, but not like a court case in the films, it's usually a meeting room with three or four people in it.

The summary is a bit short on detail, but you can't use the accelerated possession route if there's no written tenancy agreement, so that one is black and white. You either can or you can't use that route.
The "proper notice" one is a bit more deceptive, have a look at the flow chart in the sticky on this forum and that'll tell you if the notice was valid or not. If it is, there's no other defence, so anything else the tenant claims is pointless (true or not).
And, if it's not, sort out the issue and serve notice again.

DiamondsForever

Quote from: jpkeates on January 27, 2024, 11:40:31 AMRight. So there's no possession order, yet.

A court hearing is anxiety inducing, but for you and the tenant. But, you need to turn up (or send a solicitor), not turning up means the claim will be dismissed (or, if you're the tenant, awarded by default). It's stressful, but not like a court case in the films, it's usually a meeting room with three or four people in it.

The summary is a bit short on detail, but you can't use the accelerated possession route if there's no written tenancy agreement, so that one is black and white. You either can or you can't use that route.
The "proper notice" one is a bit more deceptive, have a look at the flow chart in the sticky on this forum and that'll tell you if the notice was valid or not. If it is, there's no other defence, so anything else the tenant claims is pointless (true or not).
And, if it's not, sort out the issue and serve notice again.

I did everything by the book - written tenancy agreement, gas certificate, deposit certificate, how to rent guide and so on.

I was sent a notice for the accelerated possession claim by the court.

The tenants have filed a defence to stay at the property for another three months due to kids schooling. However, Section 21 was served in September, so they have had more than enough time to move.

They have also complained about disrepair which you have said will be irrelevant.

I am now awaiting further instructions from the judge.

jpkeates

None of those things should be a defence to a s21 possession claim. As long as you've done everything by the book, it's not really possible for a tenant to defend against the claim.
But if they offer any kind of defence at all, they're entitled to a hearing to review it. And the legal system is currently a complete mess, so everything is very slow. So they might end up getting the time they want in court delays.

DiamondsForever

Quote from: jpkeates on January 30, 2024, 04:23:48 PMNone of those things should be a defence to a s21 possession claim. As long as you've done everything by the book, it's not really possible for a tenant to defend against the claim.
But if they offer any kind of defence at all, they're entitled to a hearing to review it. And the legal system is currently a complete mess, so everything is very slow. So they might end up getting the time they want in court delays.

I've heard back from the court and they have sent the accelerated possession order, but also sent a date for the hearing. What will happen at the hearing; it is only ten minutes? Will I be able to present evidence to the court in terms of bank statements to show rental arrears or proof of tenant being happy with property before claiming disrepair or will the judge just tell me their decision about whether they will extend the time tenants have to move out?