Standard vs accelerated court proceedings – choosing which possession notice to serve
The decision whether to commence standard or accelerated court proceeding can be an important factor in deciding what possession notice to serve on the tenant in an assured shorthold tenancy.
To better understand what notices can be served, it’s important to consider the different types of court proceedings:
Standard court proceedings
Under standard court proceedings, the landlord can pursue possession, rent arrears, interest for the arrears, and fixed court costs.
Once the court papers have been filed to the court, the court will process the paperwork and will schedule a possession hearing. Although each court will have different timescales based on their caseloads, the estimated timescale to retrieve a court order is around five to nine months under standard proceedings.
If a landlord wants to commence standard proceedings to pursue possession and rent arrears at the same time, they can rely on either a Section 8 notice, a Section 21 notice or they can serve both notices.
Accelerated court proceedings
Under accelerated court proceedings, the landlord can pursue possession and fixed costs.
A possession hearing is not usually scheduled because the court will typically award a possession order based on the paperwork alone (provided the judge is satisfied all requirements have been complied with and does not have any questions). Again, the timescales can vary within different courts, but the estimated timescale to retrieve a court order is around four to eight months under accelerated proceedings.
If the landlord wants to commence accelerated proceedings because there are no rent arrears or the landlord does not wish to pursue the arrears, they can rely on a section 21 notice.
Of course, if the landlord can only serve a Section 8 notice, then they are limited to standard proceedings only.
However, where the landlord can serve both a Section 8 and a Section 21 notice, then because of the insignificant difference in the estimated timescale between standard and accelerated court proceedings, then most common determining factor on the type of court proceedings to commence is the level of rental arrears.
Although a money judgment order for the rent arrears can be obtained through standard proceedings, the landlord will need to enforce that judgment if the tenant doesn’t pay. Therefore, the landlord must also consider the likely prospect of recovering the rent arrears when deciding whether to commence standard or accelerated court proceedings.
Another determining factor can be whether the landlord wants to attend a hearing and undertake the all-important hearing preparation. Although the possession hearing is informal, it can be a difficult experience for landlords and many choose to use the services of a specialist provider, or legal team, to support them with this.
The Lettings Hub is proud to work with Woodstock Legal Services, as we support our customers with Rent and Legal protection who need to serve a possession notice. Together we can:
- Complete a full review of the claim to advise on the best route for the landlord.
- Consider if the tenant has a guarantor and advise on whether to include the guarantor in the claim.
- Assess the prospects of recovering the debt at an early stage to advise the landlord.
- Complete the hearing preparation and instruct an advocate to attend the hearing.