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Landlords beware – what constitutes “sufficient notice of proceedings”

Landlords beware – what constitutes “sufficient notice of proceedings” to enforce possession orders using High Court Sheriff enforcement procedure.

The High Court has recently provided guidance to what constitutes ‘sufficient notice of proceedings’ by Landlords seeking to enforce a possession order by High Court Sheriff enforcement method.
In Partridge v Gupta 2017 the Landlord served a S.21 notice and obtained an order for possession in the County Court. The landlord subsequently applied for the case to be transferred up to the High Court in order to speed up the enforcement procedure.

The landlord wrote a letter to the tenant notifying him that:

• They had made an application to transfer the case up to the High Court
• They had an intention to make an application for a writ of possession

The High Court granted the writ of possession and the tenant appealed the decision seeking to have the writ set aside on the basis that they he not have ‘sufficient notice of proceedings’ that were being issued against him notwithstanding the fact that he was fully aware of the County Court possession proceedings.

The High Court, in Partridge, distinguished between a sole tenant and a tenant having other occupants.

Where there is a sole tenant who is the subject of the possession order and he has full knowledge of the possession proceedings, a reminder of the terms of the court order and a request that possession is given up under the order is, generally speaking, sufficient notice.

Where the sole tenant has played no part in the possession proceedings, a letter or other suitable form of communication containing all of the above information should ensure that sufficient notice has been given.

Where there are occupants other than the tenant to the possession proceedings known to occupy the property then a letter addressed to them (if known by name) or to “the occupants” (if the names are not known) is necessary and needs to include reference to the intention to apply for permission to issue a writ of possession if express possession is not delivered up by the date prescribed in the order and that eviction will follow.

Partridge v Gupta 2017 highlights the importance for Landlords to be vigilant when seeking to enforce possession orders by writ in the High Court as the wording of the notice, in the case of multi-occupants, is very important and must include reference to the “intention to apply for permission to issue a writ of possession if possession is not delivered up by the date prescribed in the order and that eviction will follow”.

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