The court forms for issuing a claim for possession of property under the accelerated possession procedure have now been amended to reflect the changes in legislation which came into place in October 2015.
Given that the legislation does not currently apply to tenancy agreements entered into prior to 1st October 2015, the “old” claim form can still be used in such cases, therefore landlords should take care when drafting any court documents to ensure that they are using the correct forms for their particular case.
- The new court form specifically relates to properties located in England only. A separate claim form has been introduced for properties located in Wales.
- The new claim form for property in England requests a number of additional details, including a short statement detailing how, when and by whom any notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 notice was sent or delivered. The court requires further and more detailed information in regards to the protection of a tenancy deposit, including provision of the date on which the deposit was lodged with a government scheme (this should be within 30 days of receipt).
- The new claim form requests details of whether a valid Energy Performance Certificate has been given free of charge to the tenant and the date upon which this was given.
- The courts want to know whether and when a copy of the gas safety record was provided to the tenant, in addition to when and how the “How to rent” Checklist for renting in England booklet was provided to the tenant, including whether this was provided as a hard copy of by email.
There is significantly more detail required with the new forms.
Whilst it has taken quite some time for the courts to update the forms to reflect the current legislative position following the introduction of the new regulations in 2015, this demonstrates how the implications of the legislation are now beginning to have much more of a practical impact for landlords in seeking to recover possession of their properties.
Interestingly there is now a section dedicated to “retaliation” evictions, including having to disclose whether the landlord has been served with a “Relevant Notice” from a local authority relating to the condition of the property following a complaint from the tenant. Indeed, a whole page of the claim form is dedicated to this point, including a request for further information and whether any exemptions may apply.
As we approach 2018, when the legislation will apply to all tenancy agreements across the board, it is absolutely crucial now more than ever for all private landlords and letting agents to familiarise themselves with the additional requirements and ask themselves whether they are fully compliant. Failure to do so could prevent landlords from being able to secure possession of their property via the accelerated possession procedure.