Residential Possession Proceedings

Landlords usually seek possession of their property for the following reasons:

– rent arrears;

– the term of the tenancy has ended; or

– some other breach of the tenancy.

Whether you are a Landlord with one property or a portfolio of properties we can assist you in this complex area of law to ensure that the properties are recovered promptly and efficiently.


The vast majority of tenancies today are governed by the Housing Act 1988 (“HA”). Pursuant to the HA Landlord’s seeking possession must serve the Tenant either with a Section 8 notice or a Section 21 notice.

The Section 8 notice will give the Tenant a set period to vacate the property depending on the specific reason for serving it. In most cases this will give the tenant 14 days to vacate the property.

The Section 21 notice gives the Tenant at least 2 months notice to vacate the property. The rules on the expiry date of the Section 21 notice vary depending on the circumstances of the tenancy and when the notice is served. If the 2 months’ notice is not calculated correctly the court cannot make a possession order.

Once the notice has expired possession can be sought by one of 3 routes:

1. Section 21 – Traditional

Along with possession a Landlord can also request an order for rent arrears or damages for damage done by the tenant to the property. Once proceedings have been issued, the court will set a hearing date within 4-12 weeks. We then arrange for an agent to attend the hearing on your behalf. The hearing is usually only for 5-10 minutes and if the Tenant has not submitted a defence the court will usually make an order for possession at the hearing. If there is a defence the court will consider whether it has any merit, if it does, the court must hold another hearing to consider the defence in more detail.

2. Section 21 – Accelerated

The Landlord will only be granted possession and fixed costs. No claim for rent arrears or damage can be made. No court hearing is listed and instead the court considers the matter on paper alone. The procedure is ideal for Landlord’s seeking a quick resolution. Tenant’s may still submit a defence. The court will consider whether the defence has any merit, if it does, the court must hold a hearing to consider it in more detail. Not all tenancies are suitable to use the accelerated process, we can advise you on whether this is possible in your case.

3. Section 8

The HA gives the Landlord twenty-one grounds for possession including rent arrears, anti social behaviour and other breaches of the tenancy. Once proceedings have been issued the procedure is the same as that detailed above under Section 21 Traditional.


Possession claims before the courts most commonly fail because the Landlord has served a defective notice or issued proceedings prior to the notice expiration. Our team are highly experienced in this area and have sophisticated custom computer systems designed to ensure that mistakes like this do not happen. We will give clear advice on the procedure best suited to your needs and prepare the paperwork necessary to ensure that possession is obtained as soon as possible.