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Possession Claims Online

Eviction Notice

Section 21:

Not every landlordor agent would consider handling a possession claim themselves, butthe good news is, it can be done '� the system is designed for LIGs'� litigant's in person.

Everyone has theright to speak for themselves in court without the aid of a solicitoror other legal professional, and landlords will often prefer to dothis because they can deal with the paperwork themselves, they can ifnecessary speak directly to the judge, if a hearing becomesnecessary, and it saves on legal fees..

It may all change ifsection 21 is abolished and some form of Housing Tribunal isintroduced, but as it stands right now it is possible to bring apossession claim using section 21 without the need for a hearing '�its all done using the documentation you present.

If you handle ityourself you will be known as a '�litigant in person' and youwill also be known as the '�applicant' in the county court. Theusual reason for a possession claim online is the tenant is owningrent and the landlord wants the property back. The PCOL servicecurrently costs �325.

HM Courts &Tribunals Service operates a Possession Claim Online service (PCOL)which allows you to start off the process conveniently online - PCOLis a simple, convenient and secure way of making or responding tocertain types of possession claim on the Internet.

Civil Procedure Rule Practice Direction 55A governs the type of claims that can be issued using the PCOL service and landlords wishing to use it should familiarise themselves with this and the online User Guide before commencing the process. The is also support on procedures, not legal advice, by a Customer Help Desk.

The latest availablefigures show possession claims have been falling, and the quarterfrom January to March 2019 is representative with the majority (63%)(19,192) of all landlord possession claims being from social landlordclaims, 16% (4,893) were accelerated possession (section 21) claimsand 21% (6,266) were private landlord claims.

The 24 hour PCOLservice allows small and infrequent users, such as private landlords,to fill out their claim online, while frequent users, such as localauthorities or mortgage lenders, can link their data system directlyinto the Possession Claim Online interface to automatically start newclaims.

When the service waslaunched for England and Wales, HMCS Chief Executive Sir Ron De Wittsaid:

'A PossessionClaim Online is putting the needs of courts users first '� it'sabout accessing justice in a more efficient and convenient manner.The service is more convenient for users as it means that they canmake their claim online and it is issued immediately, with a courtdate automatically scheduled. Those using PCOL no longer have to fillout a lengthy paper claim. And they can keep track of their claim atall stages, instead of having to contact the court.'�

When applying forpossession using section 21, landlords will need to follow closelythe rules which govern the process which can be summarised asfollows:

As well as theexisting preconditions of complying with the deposit rules andhaving, where required, a selective, additional or HMO licence, whenit applies, landlords must have, at the start of the tenancy, served:

  • A current gas safety inspection certificate
  • A current Energy Performance Certificate
  • A current copy of the government's 'How to Rent'� booklet

It is likely thatbefore long landlords in England will also be required to prove anelectrical safety certificate.

Failure to supply any of the above in the form of accurate documentary evidence means that your claim will be rejected.

The section 21notice cannot be served during the original first 4 months of thetenancy and it will expire (in most cases) after six months. Youcannot start the Section 21 claims process until the contractualtenancy terms has ended, though a Section 8 claim for breach ofcontract is different.

Trips and Trapsfor Landlords:

When problems arisewithin a tenancy it is often the case that communications breakdownbetween landlord and tenant. Tenants in arrears with the rent mayrefuse to cooperate with the landlord and refuse to allow access tothe property to carry on an ECP assessment when it becomes due (every10 years) or an annual gas safety inspection.

As these documentsmust be current at the time of serving a Section 21 notice the lackof them would stymie any Section 21 claim, so the landlord would inthis case need to fall back on a section 8 claim.

Landlords who failed to serve a gas safety certificate at the start of the tenancy may be unable to use either process.

'If you are unsure about carrying out possessions by yourself, you can contact Landlord Action who will support you with evictions and tenant-related legal disputes.'�


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