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Applying for possession: Assured tenancies

This content applies to England

How a landlord can apply for possession of an assured tenancy .

In order to gain possession, the landlord must obtain a court order.[1]

Social landlords should follow the Pre-action Protocol for Possession Cases by Social Landlords before pursuing possession proceedings

Notice requirements

The earliest that court proceedings for possession can commence is:[2]

  • two weeks after the service of the notice seeking possession (NSP) under grounds 3, 4, 7B, 8, 10 to 13, 15 and 17
  • two months after the service of the NSP under grounds 1, 2, 5 to 7, 9 and 16
  • four weeks after the service of NSP under ground 7A. 

Under ground 14, proceedings can commence on the date specified in the NSP (which could be immediately). In all cases, proceedings must commence within 12 months.

See the section on Notices: Assured tenancies for further information.

General possession procedure

The Civil Procedure Rules set out the requirements regarding the information parties must provide for the court. Part 55 specifies the information that must be included in all claims for possession of property. The particulars of claim in possession proceedings for rent arrears must, in addition, provide the following details:

  • the amount of arrears due at the commencement of possession proceedings
  • the dates when arrears arose, all amounts due, the date and amounts of all payments, and a running total of arrears
  • details of steps taken to recover the arrears
  • information known to the landlord about the tenant's financial circumstances, and
  • whether payments of housing benefit are being made directly to the landlord.

Under the general procedure, the court will fix a 'return day' for a hearing, which will either decide the matter or give 'directions' to the parties before fixing a longer hearing. More information on court procedure is contained in the Courts and legal action section.

Accelerated possession procedure

The accelerated possession procedure cannot be used to end an assured tenancy.[3]

[1] s.7 Housing Act 1988.

[2] s.8 Housing Act 1988.

[3] para 27, Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 4) Rules 2000 SI 2000/2092.

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