Article - Landlord & Tenant

I have am a Landlord who let a property on an Assured Tenancy.  My tenant has not paid rent for 10 weeks.  On what grounds can I seek possession?

Introduction

The Court is unable to make an order for possession of a property on an assured tenancy, except on one of the grounds in the Housing Act 1988.  Possession for rent arrears can be sought on Grounds 8, 10 and 11.  Ground 8 is a mandatory ground and assuming that this ground is proved, the Court will order possession.  However, if possession is sought on Grounds 10 and 11, which are discretionary grounds, then even if this ground is proved, the Court still has a discretion as to whether they award possession to the Landlord.

Mandatory Grounds

Ground 8 - Rent Arrears of Eight Weeks

If rent is payable weekly or fortnightly then prior to seeking a Court possession order a Notice Seeking Possession of the property can be served on this ground if at least 8 weeks of rent is outstanding.  If the rent is payable monthly, then the tenant must be in at least two months’ arrears in rent.  If rent is payable quarterly then at least one quarter’s rent is in arrears or the tenant should be in more than three months in arrears.  If the rent is payable yearly then at least three months’ rent must be in arrears.

It is important to note that rent arrears of 8 weeks (if rent is paid weekly or fortnightly) should be outstanding at the date of the issue of proceedings as well as the date of issuing the prior notice seeking possession.

Discretionary Grounds for Possession

Ground 10 - Rent Lawfully Due

If rent is outstanding then a Notice Seeking Possession can be served on this ground.  Assuming that rent is still outstanding at the date of issue of proceedings, then the Court can make an order for possession on this ground.  The Court does, however, have discretion to refuse to award possession on this ground.

Ground 11 - Persistently Late Payment of Rent

If the tenant is persistently late in paying the rent, then a Notice Seeking Possession can be served on this ground.  Again, the rent must be outstanding at the date of commencement of Court proceedings and the Court has a discretionary power to refuse to award an order for possession on this ground.

Date on which Proceedings Can Be Commenced

If possession of the property is sought on the above grounds then the Notice Seeking Possession must state that possession proceedings will not be commenced before the expiry of 14 days from the date of service of the notice.  After the expiry of 14 days the Landlord is able to commence proceedings.

Conclusion

Assuming that the tenant is in more than 8 weeks of rent arrears at the time of serving the Notice Seeking Possession pursuant to Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 and at the date of issue of Court proceedings, then the Court is obliged to grant you possession of the property.  If the tenant takes steps to reduce the arrears to under 8 weeks then the Court will have to decide whether they wish to grant possession of the property.  Unfortunately, the Courts tend to be unwilling to grant an order for possession on these discretionary grounds unless it can be shown that the tenant has persistently been late in paying rent over a prolonged period.

Article First Published: 14 March 2004

Disclaimer

The views on this website are not necessarily those of the Student Law Journal and is not intended to provide legal advice.  Any legal problems should be specifically addressed to a solicitor.

© Student Law Journal, 2001 - All Rights Reserved

Home | News | Academic Articles | Practitioner Articles | Editorial Board | Article Submission | Contact | Links | Book Reviews