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Right to Rent and writs of possession

On 1 October, it will become clearer how to recover possession of a property where all the occupiers have no Right to Rent.

Our previous post on ending a tenancy where occupiers do not have the Right to Rent can be read here. Under the Immigration Act 2016 which amended the Immigration Act 2014, landlords were given the power to evict where occupiers do not have the Right to Rent. It also increased the penalties for landlords failure to take action to remove occupiers who are shown not to have the proper Right to Rent.

The landlord has the power to evict occupiers if they receive a notice from the Secretary of State telling them that some or all of the occupiers in the property do not have a Right to Rent. This notice is known as a Notice of Letting to a Disqualified Person (NLDP).

Where a landlord receives an NLDP or a number of NLDPs which relate to only some of the occupiers they can seek a possession order through the courts in the normal way. However, where the NLDP or NLDPs refer to all of the occupiers in the property the landlord does not need a possession order. Instead, the landlord can simply serve a notice under s33D(3) of the Immigration Act 2014 giving the occupiers 28 days to leave.

Once the s33D(3) notice has expired the landlord is then permitted to remove the occupiers, without a possession order from the property, using reasonable force where necessary. Not all landlords will wish to evict their occupiers in these circumstances, so they can instruct a High Court Enforcement Officer, using the NDLP and s33D(3) notice together which are treated as an order of the High Court allowing a writ of possession to be sought directly.

The slight problem with all this is that the seeking of a Writ of Possession is covered by the Civil Procedure Rules, which were somewhat out of date. The old rules required that any application for a writ of possession be accompanied by a court order or judgement. However, a landlord acting on an NLDP did not have a court order or judgement, leaving the system unworkable.

Fortunately, this situation has now been rectified with the introduction of rule 11 of the Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 2) Rules 2017 which amends CPR 83 to state that the application for a writ of possession only needs to be accompanied by the s33D(3) notice and not a court order of judgment.

Comment

The need for these new changes on a practical level is not really clear. The vast majority of properties contain a mixture of occupiers with the Right to Rent and without and occupiers that become aware of NDLP notices are unlikely to remain in a property where they are at risk of deportation. However, they do fix a problem in the law and this is to be welcomed.

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