Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has updated the N5B accelerated possession claim form.
The N5B form is used by those seeking possession of a property let under an assured shorthold tenancy on the expiry of a Section 21 notice. The process is referred to as accelerated because the court usually makes an order for possession without a hearing. However, the old form had long been considered out-of-date because it failed to address the changes to the validity of a Section 21 notice introduced by the Deregulation Act 2015.
The new form N5B now requires landlords to respond to certain questions including:
- When was the deposit lodged?
- Has the Claimant been served with a relevant notice….under S.11 or 12 or 40(7) of the HA 2004? (Local authority improvement notice). If the landlord has been served with an improvement notice there then follows a further 13 questions designed to prevent retaliatory evictions pursuant to section 33 of the Deregulation Act 2015
- Has a valid EPC been given free of charge to the tenant?
- Has a copy of the gas safety record been given to the tenant?
- Has the tenant been given a copy of the then current document ‘How to Rent: the checklist for renting in England’?
The new form must be used by those seeking possession through the accelerated route now and certainly for those assured shorthold tenancies that commenced on or after 1 October 2015. Those issuing their claim form in Wales will need to use form N5B Wales.
This form will hopefully make it easier for landlords to understand their statutory obligations and to prevent them from issuing a claim when they have not. The form should see courts spending less time examining reams of paper which will hopefully speed up the process and court orders issued much more quickly.