What do I need to do to claim for possession of my property?

Whether you need to claim for possession of your property because of unruly residential tenants, businesses failing to pay rent, or because of squatters, it is essential that you follow the correct legal procedures to avoid lengthening the eviction process and finding yourself facing legal action.
So that you do not end up using the wrong procedure to claim for possession of your property, we have outlined the common processes you need to begin the eviction process.

Reclaiming from residential tenants

If you need to claim for possession of your residential tenants, then it is likely that you will need to obtain a Section 21 notice or, if you wish for a disruptive tenant to leave during the fixed term contract, a Section 8 notice.

With a Section 21 notice, you can give tenants two months’ notice to leave. If they fail to vacate the property after the 2 months has passed, you will then need to apply for an accelerated possession order. When this is obtained, you can instruct an enforcement officer to evict on your behalf.

Reclaiming from commercial tenants

If you need to evict commercial tenants from your property because they have failed to pay rent, then you may need to follow CRAR procedures.
If tenants have not paid rent for a specified period that is outlined in their tenancy contract, landlords are able to evict under Common Law, which is called forfeiting the lease. If you can legally forfeit the lease, then all you need to do is instruct a bailiff to repossess the property on your behalf.

Alternatively, you can apply for a writ of possession by obtaining a County Court Judgement (CCJ) through your local county court and then transferring up to the High Courts so you can get a writ of possession.

Reclaiming from residential squatters

If you have squatters trespassing on your residential property, then you should contact the police for assistance. Squatting in residential premises became a criminal offence in September 2012, and those found guilty of residential squatting potentially face 6 months in prison, a fine of £5,000 or both.

Reclaiming from commercial squatters

If you are a commercial property owner and have discovered that there are squatters trespassing on your property then you will need to follow a different process. Though it is not illegal to squat in a commercial property, there are a number of crimes that squatters can carry out while trespassing, including causing damage when entering the property and while occupying the property, theft, and using utilities without permission.

Commercial squatters can be evicted using Common Law, which is the first approach a certificated enforcement officer is likely to take as it often means that squatters leave the premises swiftly. However, if squatters are a persistent problem, then it is maybe more valuable to obtain an Interim Possession Order (IPO) or a Final Order of Possession from the County Courts. An IPO is processed quicker than a Court Order (usually after a minimum of three days) and must be served within 48 hours of approval.

A Final Order of Possession takes longer to process than an IPO, so commercial landlords may wish to apply for both orders so that squatters can be evicted quickly.

If you are a landlord who is struggling to repossess your property from squatters and trespassers, businesses who are failing to pay rent, or disruptive residential tenants, then Able Investigations can help speed up the process. Our team of experienced, certificated enforcement officers can advise on the best legal proceeding to use for your repossessions and can be instructed to evict once a court order is obtained or operating under Common Law where appropriate. For more information about our services, please get in touch by calling 0845 370 7401.

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