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ay94147
29-10-2006, 09:46 AM
Hi there,

I have just served a section 8 notice on our tenants who are in rent arrears of over 2 months. When this notice expires in just under 2 weeks, what kind of court do I need to apply to? I've looked at the HMCS website and there's all types of courts, will any one of these do or does it have to have a specific housing section?

Also, the property is in Swindon, Wiltshire but we're based in Birmingham - do I have to go to a court local to the property or will a more local one for us be ok?

And when I go to court in 2 weeks time, do I hand in the N5 and the N119 forms then, or is that done seperately? And do these help in any way with claiming back the outstanding rent, or is that done seperately through the small claims court?

Sorry for the dumb questions but I'm new to all this, severely stressed by the process and struggling to find any clear answers.

Alternatively if anyone can point me in the direction of a good step-by-step guide to the whole section 8 process I'd be very grateful.

Thanks in advance,

Andrew.

P.Pilcher
29-10-2006, 10:08 AM
The court you need is the county court nearest to your property so I'm afraid you will need to travel to Swindon as a court hearing will be involved. I managed to succeed with the guidance notes provided by the court, but maybe someone else knows of a good guide. There is an excellent legal bookshop in, I think, the Great Western Arcade in Birmingham which I have used in the past and may have the guide you need.
All your court paperwork including copies for as many tenants as you have on the lease, and you must be sent to the court, with fee, no earlier than two weeks after serving the section 8 notice on your tenants. You can then await the court's pleasure and will be advised of the hearing date in due course. Be warned that if the tenants then realkise that you mean business and send you sufficient money to get their arrears below 2 months before the hearing, then your action will fail. I assume that you will also be citing sections 10 and 11 as well on your N5 but a possession order under these grounds is discressionary and most judges are well known to excercise their discression - in favour of the poor tenant!
It is advisable also to serve a section 21 notice on the tenants as at least you have the 2 months (minimum) notice running for this in case your section 8 application fails. If you get the paperwork right, a section 21 notice does not require a court hearing and the granting of the possession order is mandatory. Furthermore you do not have to give a reason for requiring possession.

P.P.

ay94147
29-10-2006, 12:24 PM
Thanks P.P,

I have quoted grounds 10 and 11 as well as issuing the section 21 notice, so hopefully have covererd most bases...

So is my next step is to send the N5 and N119 forms to the court with the appropriate fees? Do I have to do this in person or can I post them there?

Also, does anyone have any advice about trying to claim back the unpaid rent please? Is it a completely seperate process to issuing the N5 and N119 forms?

Again, sorry for the dumb questions, I'm sure all the info's out there, it's just difficult to relate everything to our own particular circumstances.

Thanks, Andrew.

P.Pilcher
29-10-2006, 13:32 PM
Find the telephone number of your chosen court, ring them and ask whether they do indeed cover the address in question, then bung the lot in the post.
At a section 8 hearing, outstanding rent is also considered and a judgement for this can also be obtained as well as the possession order you are after.

P.P.

davidjohnbutton
29-10-2006, 15:00 PM
and make sure you attend IN PERSON the possession hearing in order that you can give evidence as to the arrears.

attilathelandlord
29-10-2006, 15:30 PM
Did you quote grounds 8, 10 and 11 or just 10 and 11? Only ground 8 (two or more months in arrears is mandatory possession). You won't get possession on grounds 10 and 11.

Please check this is important.

ay94147
29-10-2006, 16:40 PM
Hi,

Yes, I quoted ground 8 as well.

What kind of evidence of the rent arrears does the court want to see - are bank statements acceptable? Call me naive, but isn't it up to the tenant to prove that he HAS paid the rent?

Thanks, Andrew.

Surrey
29-10-2006, 21:38 PM
Hi,

Yes, I quoted ground 8 as well.

What kind of evidence of the rent arrears does the court want to see - are bank statements acceptable? Call me naive, but isn't it up to the tenant to prove that he HAS paid the rent?

Thanks, Andrew.

Bank statements, statements from your agent if you've used one, copies of letters you've sent to the tenant reminding them they're late, all are good evidence. And when you're in person you'll be able to TELL the judge.

You should read the Civil Procedure Rules to find out exactly what is required.
CPR: http://www.dca.gov.uk/civil/procrules_fin/menus/rules.htm make a point of looking at Part 55, though you'll need a lot of the first 20 or so.

Court's home page is http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/index.htm, you might find something useful.

If in doubt, try getting a fixed fee appointment with a local solicitor specialising in property, who may be able to guide you specifically.

By the way, DON'T expect to get a date for a court appearance as soon as you apply for one. You could well end up waiting months for a date (yes, I know it's supposed to be immediate but this is the English court system) so if you get a hearing before Christmas you'll be doing well. (Me? Cynical? Oh ok then, yep!)

Ericthelobster
29-10-2006, 23:06 PM
I submitted court papers last week for my first ever possession hearing, so I'm about that much ahead of you! (Have a look at my scenario here: http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=3755 - there's probably some helpful stuff in there for you.) I agree it's pretty hard to find out all the relevant info. There's lots buried in the archives of this forum, but it's very hard to track down IMHO as the search facilities aren't great.

In terms of evidence of arrears, I was advised that a simple rent statement dating back to the start of the tenancy should suffice (4 columns - date / amount due / amount paid / amount of arears). That's all I submitted as evidence of arrears; I was intending to take all my paperwork eg bank statements with me to court in case there's any challenge to my statement, but don't know if that's OK, as in whether everything to be used in court needs to be submitted in advance?

In terms of the hearing date, you can phone the court before submission to find out what the likely date will be. I've just been given a date (in writing) of 6 December, ie a wait of just under 6 weeks which could have been worse.

Best of luck!

Surrey
29-10-2006, 23:25 PM
... In terms of evidence of arrears, ... I was intending to take all my paperwork eg bank statements with me to court in case there's any challenge to my statement, but don't know if that's OK, as in whether everything to be used in court needs to be submitted in advance?

In terms of the hearing date, you can phone the court before submission to find out what the likely date will be. I've just been given a date (in writing) of 6 December, ie a wait of just under 6 weeks which could have been worse.

Best of luck!

You will usually find that the "Notice of Hearing" which gives you the date is accompanied by another notice or list of directions (can't remember if it has to be a specific notice or not) that will include instructions from the court. It is customary to be told you have to provide a properly paginated bundle of documents to include anything you wish to rely on in court, and to be given a date by which that bundle must be filed (i.e. put into the court) and served (i.e. given to the other parties). That's one copy for the court and one copy for each of the other parties, plus of course one for yourself. See the Civil Procedure Rules again, think it's Part 5, for specifics. Eric, if you're submitting bank statements you are perfectly within your rights to blank out anything that is not relevant to the case before you make your copies (e.g. balance figures, amounts you paid to B&Q, names attached to any payments out, etc) though do bring the originals with you. It's clearly nothing to do with the case in question what you spent your money on so none of anyone else's business. If the judge wants to query you on what you've done, you will at least have the originals with you but it's highly unlikely they'll have any problem with it, and it keeps your finances private.

You (either Eric or the original poster) may also wish to make a statement (see Parts 16 and 22 I think, may be others, for what a witness statement needs to include. Be particularly careful about the Statement of Truth. In this you can write down everything you want to say in the case you are making, and the judge will be able to read it before the hearing. Main thing though, follow the court's directions.

Oh, and don't expect things to progress as you would normally think they should. I've just phoned my local court about a hearing that was on 16th Sept at which a judge made some orders, including the other side having to do something and a new hearing date being set. The judge's orders weren't typed up and sent out, because the case file "must have got missed" (quote from court office) so I am seriously fed up. Not only did the court office not type up and send out the order so what was supposed to have happened didn't happen by the due date, they didn't bother to read the note "adjourn to the next available date after 27th September" and now there are no available dates until "possibly some time in the New Year" (another quote from the court office). And all this time I am out of pocket.

So CHASE the court office if they're being slow. Very politely of course, but do chase.