Here are some of our top tips for landlords seeking possession of residential premises occupied under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.
Communication and conciliation
Court proceedings can be expensive and costly. This can sometimes be avoided through constructive communication with your tenant and exploring alternative forms of dispute resolution. We can assist with this as an alternative to, or in addition to, Court Proceedings. The method of communication is also important. The use of informal methods of communication like media messaging is tempting. However, this can lead to muddled communications, mixed messages and, occasionally, colourful language. These communications are often presented to the Court as evidence. Therefore, care should be exercised in the form and content of communications.
Record Keeping and document management
We always encourage landlords to keep a detailed record of the key documents regarding the tenancy and correspondence with their tenants. You never know what might become relevant to a subsequent dispute and therefore good record keeping and document management is recommended.
Get the notice right
The eviction process usually starts with the service of a notice. If you get this wrong, it can undermine the entire process. To make matters worse, even trial mistakes can invalidate the notice and scupper the eviction. We are often approached by landlords seeking to issue a possession claim once a notice has expired only to find that the notice is invalid, and the process needs to start again. In order to avoid losing months of wasted time, we would encourage landlords that are thinking of obtaining possession, to seek legal advice at an early stage and certainly before service of any notice requiring possession.
Certain key documents need to be made available before you can even think about starting the process. In most cases, we would expect to need to see the following documents:
- The tenancy agreement(s)
- Confirmation that any deposit has been registered with an authorised scheme
- Prescribed information regarding the deposit
- Gas Safety Certificate
- Energy Performance Certificate
The eviction process can be unavoidably time-consuming, and it could be many months before a possession order can be obtained and enforced. This timescale is only likely to increase following the emergency legislation put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
How Morrisons works with landlords seeking possession of a residential premises
This is an exceptionally technical area of law and an eviction process that is fraught with pitfalls and hidden obstacles. Morrisons Solicitors have a team of dedicated solicitors working closely with landlords to obtain possession orders. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the possession proceedings process, please contact our residential landlord and tenant team.