After the Court Order – And Eviction
5.9 After the Court Order – And Eviction
The court will normally award the costs of the application for possession
against the tenant but they may allow them time to pay if they are on a
limited income. A landlord may feel that it is not worth seeking to claim the
costs once the property has been recovered, if it is going to be difficult to
administer the instalments.
The landlord can continue to accept money from a tenant at any time
during the possession process, from service of the notice to eviction.
Indeed, the landlord must accept rent if it is offered to them.
If a possession order is made the court will normally order that the landlord
is entitled to receive “damages for use and occupation” until the tenant
actually vacates the property, calculated on a daily basis. If possession
is ordered on the grounds of rent arrears, the court will normally order
the tenant to pay back the rent owed at a rate appropriate to their
circumstances. If asked to consider it, the court may also award a sum to
cover interest on the outstanding rent and the court costs associated with
obtaining the order.
If a tenant is in receipt of Income Support and Housing Benefit the court
will normally award the minimum expected deduction from benefit (and
such an award against the Income Support will also entitle the landlord to
direct payments, even under Local Housing Allowance). After the end of the
tenancy the debt will merge with any other debts that the tenant has and it will cease to be a priority. This is also relevant to whether a landlord may
feel it is viable to chase a debt after the end of the tenancy. It is common
advice to landlords that they may be throwing good money after bad by
pursuing the debt if the tenant is unlikely to be able to pay it.
The tenant should leave the property on or before the date of possession
but if they do not do so, a landlord must apply to the county court for a
Warrant for Possession. A landlord cannot evict a tenant themselves, even
if they have a court order. If the tenant refuses to leave after the date
specified in the order, a warrant for eviction must be obtained from the
court, using Form N325: “Request for Warrant of Possession of land”. The
form, and details of the fee payable, is available from www.hmcourts-
service.gov.uk (look in the county court section of the site).
The warrant is normally served on the property or the tenant by hand, and
a time is booked by the court for the bailiff to return and carry out the
eviction. The landlord should attend at the same time so that the bailiff can
formally hand over the property and, if necessary, arrange for the locks to
be changed. If the tenant still does not have anywhere to move to it may be
necessary for the tenant’s possessions to be retained for a reasonable time
until they can be collected or disposed of.
If the tenant has not already done so, the landlord may wish to advise
the tenant to apply to the local council’s homelessness services who may
assist with the provision of storage of the possessions and or temporary
and permanent accommodation. That will then mean that the landlord can
make arrangements for the property to be re-let.