Common Law Notice vs. Writ of Possession: What’s the Difference?

If you’re a landlord in the UK, it’s essential to understand the eviction rules and what type of notice you should utilise if you want the tenant to leave. 

There are two types of notices: a formal law notice and a writ of possession. Eviction notices are relatively recent in the UK, and the landlord used to have the power to evict without notice at all. 

This blog post will discuss the difference between these two types of notices and help you determine which one is best applicable to your situation. 

Keep reading to discover the meaning of Writ of Possession and the idea of a legal eviction notice. 

The History of Eviction Rules in the UK 

Before we discuss the difference between a Common-law Notice and a Writ of Possession, let’s look at the history of eviction rules in the UK. 

Until 1868, landlords could evict their tenants without giving any reason whatsoever. 

However, this changed with the passing of the Rent Control Act of 1868, which stated that landlords could only evict their tenants for one of six specific reasons: 

  1. Non-payment of rent 
  1. Breach of the lease agreement 
  1. Damage to property 
  1. Unlawful occupation or use by tenant or others 
  1. Occupation by more people than allowed under the lease agreement 
  1. Nuisance caused by tenant or others 

The Eviction Process Today 

Since 1868, much has changed, and landlords can no longer evict their tenants without following a specific process.  

The landlord must give the tenant a written notice called a formal law notice. This notice must state why the landlord wants the tenant to leave and must be given to the tenant at least two months before the date that the landlord wants the tenant to leave. 

a bailiff serving a tenant

If the tenant does not leave after receiving this notice, the landlord can apply to the court for a Writ of Possession. The court will then issue a Warrant which allows bailiffs to evict the tenant. 

Common-Law Notice: What Is It? 

A standard law notice is a warning that the landlord plans to evict you if you don’t leave voluntarily. 

This type of notice usually gives the tenant a reasonable amount of time to move out, and it doesn’t require any legal action. If the tenant doesn’t leave after receiving a legal law notice, the landlord can file for a Writ of Possession. 

Furthermore, a Common-law Notice doesn’t always have to be given in writing. The landlord can deliver the information verbally if they provide a written statement of the terms within two days. This also means that the landlord doesn’t have to follow any specific format when creating the notice. That being said it is always better to have these types of matters recorded in the written word. 

It’s important to understand that a Common-law Notice is not a legal document and does not have legal force. However, if the tenant doesn’t leave after receiving this notice, the landlord can take legal action to evict the tenant. 

Writ of Possession: What Is It? 

A Writ of Possession is a legal document that orders the tenant to leave the property. This type of notice usually happens after the tenant has failed to respond to a legal law notice or if there’s an emergency that requires immediate action. 

The main difference between a Common-law Notice and a Writ of Possession is that the court can enforce a Writ of Control. If the tenant doesn’t leave after receiving a Writ of Residence, the landlord can ask for assistance from bailiffs to remove the tenant from the property. 

meeting a tenant

It’s important to note that, in some cases, you can issue a Writ of Possession without the landlord giving the tenant a legal law notice first. This is usually only done in emergencies where there’s an immediate threat to public safety or if the property is used for illegal activity. 

Which Notice Should You Utilise as a Landlord? 

Now that you know the difference between a Common-law Notice and a Writ of Possession, you may be wondering which one you should utilise as a landlord. The answer depends on several factors, including: 

  • The type of tenancy agreement you have 
  • The reason why you want the tenant to leave 
  • Whether there has been a chance to fix the problem 

If you have a fixed-term tenancy agreement, you can only evict the tenant for one of the six reasons listed in the Rent Control Act of 1868. If you have a periodic tenancy agreement, you can evict the tenant for any reason as long as you follow the correct process. 

In most cases, you should give a standard law notice first. This is because it’s less expensive and time-consuming than going to court. Furthermore, it gives you a chance to resolve the problem or provide ample time for the tenant to find somewhere else to live. 

However, there are some situations where you might want to skip the standard law notice and go straight for a Writ of Possession. This is usually done in emergency situations or if the tenant has been involved in illegal activity. 

If you’re not sure which notice you should utilise, it’s best to contact an experienced specialist for advice. 

Eviction Rules Made Easy 

If you’re a landlord and you’re not sure what type of notice to provide, you should contact a solicitor for advice. It’s important to act quickly and in a legal manner to ensure the process can move quickly. 

Knowing the difference between a Common-law Notice and a Writ of Possession can help ensure that you’re prepared for whatever happens next. 

If you have any questions about eviction notices or need assistance in evicting your tenants, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  

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