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Section 8 Notice:
I have informed my tenant in writing that I wish to take legal action unless she leaves by a certain date (unfortunately I did not give her 14 days and this was before she owed two months rent). This was suppose to be a friendly reminder and did not contain all the legal information that should be supplied on a section 8 notice.
She failed to leave by the date specified and as two months rent was due I issued a section 8 notice (this time properly with all the correct legal information) giving her 14 days before legal action. Have I jeopardise my case in anyway by trying to give a friendly reminder to the tenant in writing?
If I have to proceed on to the stage of filing court papers (both N5 and N119 forms I believe), but the tenant pays up the rent arrears after I have filed the court papers, but before the hearing date (i.e. possibly when the summons arrive), do I still have a case for claiming legal costs? Would the tenant and myself both still have to attend court?
Thanks for any answers on any of these two matters.
03-03-2006, 13:05 PM
You do not jeopardise the legal process by issuing a friendly warning beforehand and indeed this is often the best way forward.
If you are using a solicitor for the issue of the possession summons, they can claim fixed costs which will bear no relation to the amount you have to pay your solicitors - the costs allowed will be a fraction of the solicitors bill.
You issue the summons request when the 14 days have run out - if the tenant pays up before the hearing and reduces the debt below 8 weeks worth, your claim for a possession order will not be allowed BUT you will be allowed the court fee and any fixed costs if you used a solicitor. Local practice varies a little - some courts will simply vacate the hearing when you inform them that the tenant has paid up, others will (and this depends how close to the hearing they pay up) require you to attend the hearing in order to claim costs/court fee. It is not unknown for tenants to turn up at court with sufficient funds to either pay the arrears or reduce them below 8 weeks/2 months as applicable - if they do this, then the claim proceeds on costs only.
If there is any doubt over whether or not the tenant will be 8 weeks in arrears or not at hearing date, the hearing should not be delisted/vacated etc. as a tenant paying part arrears could still be 8 weeks in arrears if the hearing date is a few weeks away when they pay.
In practice, either through embarassment or a could not care less attitude - tenants often dont attend possession hearings and indeed there is nothing to compel a landlord or tenant to attend.
03-03-2006, 18:17 PM
Remember you should always serve Grounds 10 & 11 with Ground 8 just in case the tenant pays off arrears to reduce the deficit to less than two months' rent, oitherwise as DJB states above you are likely to be "disappointed" by not recovering possession.
Grounds 10 & 11 won't guarantee you possession as they're discretionary, but it might give you the chance to do so if the judge considers you have a good enough case.
DJB and Paul_f, thank you for the advise. Just a further question.
I have not filed the court forms yet and the tenant has paid up one month's rent, so ground 8 is not valid. I have included Grounds 10 & 11, but I am not keen on going to court with just these two grounds.
I am waiting to see whether the tenant pays up next month. If the tenant does not pay up next month, would I need to reissue ground 8 notice (with 10 & 11) or could I use the notice I have already served. Basically, is there a validity period for a ground 8 notice?
Thanks once again.
06-03-2006, 16:15 PM
On ground 8, two conditions need to be met for a mandatory possession order.
1. At the date of service of the notice there was 8 weeks/2 months rent arrears. (further wording covers rent due quarterly or half yearly)
2. At the hearing date, there is 8w/2m rent arrears.
The S8 notice is valid for 12 months - so if during that time you issue a S8 which the tenant subsequently clears by paying, and then say six months down the line, they are up to the 8w/2m level again, you can issue the summons based on that and so long as the arrears are at 8w/2m at the hearing date, you will get your possession order.
If a landlord issues a summons based on G8 and the tenant subsequently reduced to below 8w/2m by the hearing date, the landlord should attend the hearing to have costs awarded - local practice varies - some courts vacate the hearing and the judge awards the fixed cost of issue £150 without a hearing - others require attendance. It depends how close to the hearing the tenant pays the reducing amount.
N5 and N119 is correct - its easier to go to www.courtservice.gov.uk and forms and find those forms and fill them in online and then print copies out - two* for you, one for court and one for each defendant. (* two for you in case defendant turns up without his copy at court)
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