Court success for the property disputes team

Rent Arrears possession claim

Gemma Horner, a solicitor in our property disputes team, had a great result at Leeds County Court.

| Rent arrears possession claim

Gemma’s client is a landlord of a house. Their tenant was in rent arrears, so our client served a notice under s.8 Housing Act 1988. The tenant did not pay their rent arrears, so our client issued possession proceedings online. The tenant attended the first hearing and said they wanted to defend the claim. Our client instructed Gemma to represent them at the second Court hearing.

| Grounds for possession

The claim for possession was based on Grounds 8, 11, 12 and 13 of Schedule 2 Housing Act 1988.

  • Ground 8: serious rent arrears. This means that if rent is payable monthly, at least two months’ rent is owed.
  • Ground 11: persistent delay in paying rent
  • Ground 12: breach of tenancy (other than rent)
  • Ground 13: the tenant has allowed the property to deteriorate in condition since living there. In this case, there was mould inside the property which appeared to be caused by the tenant drying her washing inside the house.

Ground 8 is a mandatory ground for possession. This means that if the landlord proves that the tenant is in serious rent arrears at the time that the notice was served and when the hearing takes place the Judge must make a possession order.

Grounds 11, 12 and 13 are discretionary grounds. This means that if the Judge is satisfied that the grounds have been made out, he can, but does not have to, make a possession order.

| The hearing

Before the hearing, the tenant reduced her rent arrears to just over one month of arrears. This took her below the mandatory two months required for ground 8. Gemma made oral submissions on behalf of the client for the judge to exercise his discretion to grant possession under ground 11 (some rent lawfully due) and ground 12 (other breaches of the tenancy agreement).

The judge was satisfied and granted:

  • a 14-day possession order,
  • return of the deposit to the client,
  • tenant to pay the rent arrears and
  • costs to the client.

| Discretionary grounds for possession

As a landlord, it is not always easy to persuade a Judge to make a possession order on discretionary grounds. Gemma and the property disputes team are very experienced and will give you the best possible chance of recovering your property from tenants in breach of lease. Call us today on 0800 988 7756 to discuss how we can help you.

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