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Understanding The Possession Action Process: A Guide For Private Landlords In England And Wales

a tenant moving out

It’s common for landlords to ask the tenants to evacuate the rented property without prior notice. Even though there’s a well-defined legal procedure that must be followed, the first thing that a landlord should do is discuss the problems with their tenants. This discussion can take place directly between the two parties or via a mediation service.

This method can save a landlord’s time and money, and if things don’t work out, there’s always the option of seeking help from qualified and experienced lawyers.

There’s a certain legal process that every landlord and tenant must follow to end the tenancy; this process is known as The Possession Action Process.

The landlord can ask the tenant to vacate their property at the end of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy or during the fixed tenancy period depending on the situation. However, the entire procedure from beginning to end can get overwhelming and confusing due to the multiple legal steps one must comply with.

Keep reading this blog to learn more about the Possession Action Process, when you can use it, and how to navigate through.

Step # 1: Serving The Notice

A landlord can’t ask their tenant to leave their property without serving notice. There are two types of legal notices that a landlord can give to the tenant: the Section 21 Notice and the Section 8 Notice.

Both these notices are sent under different circumstances.

When Is Section 21 Notice Used?

The Section 21 notice can be issued by the landlord without stating a reason for ending the tenancy. This notice can be given at the end of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). However, it can’t be issued before the tenancy starts.

When Is Section 8 Notice Used?

Section 8 differs from Section 21 in that it’s served to the tenant before the fixed term of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) has ended and when the tenant has failed to comply with the terms of the agreement.

There can be several reasons to serve a Section 8 notice; however, the most common one involves rent arrears.

a man and a woman moving out

Step # 2: Making The Possession Claim

A landlord can ask the court for a possession order if the tenant doesn’t vacate the property on the date mentioned in the notice.

However, the tenant may submit a defence in the court, mentioning why the possession order shouldn’t be made, they can also file a counterclaim or may even ask for an extension to evacuate the property. If the defence is accepted, the landlord will be sent a copy by the court.

If the landlord’s claim is made using the Section 21 notice and if they’ve opted to use the ‘accelerated procedure’ offered by the court, the judge may consider defence received and the claim documents and move forward with making a possession order without a hearing.

Step # 3: Make Yourself Available On The Review Date

Once the possession claim is made, the court will set a date when the court file will be reviewed by the judge. They will also schedule a substantive hearing. The landlord must confirm that they’ll be available on the date, at least 14 days before the review.

They must also send an electronic copy of all the documents relevant to the case and confirm that the tenant has also received all the documents.

On the Review date the landlord and the tenant will be given a chance to settle their disputes and reach a settlement acceptable by both parties. If both parties reach a settlement, the case won’t move to a substantive hearing.

a tenant reading the eviction notice

Step # 4: Being Present At The Possession Hearing

If the tenant and the landlord fail to reach an agreement at the date of the review, a possession hearing will be scheduled 28 days later.

In this hearing, the judge will decide if a possession order should be made; if not, the judge will give different case management instructions.

Step # 5: Applying For The Warrant of Possession

If the judge decides to make the possession order in the possession hearing, and the tenant hasn’t left the rented premises by the date mentioned in the possession order, the landlord can apply for the warrant of possession to the court.

If the warrant of possession is approved by the court, the tenant will be given a date when they must leave the landlord’s property along with the eviction notice.

A county court bailiff will be appointed to ensure that the tenant has vacated the property.

Get In Touch With Landlord Assist To Learn More About Tenant Eviction Services In Kent

Whether your tenant has breached the terms contract or has been failing to pay their rent on time, there can be several reasons you might want to evict them.

However, evicting a tenant can be a daunting and time-consuming process, especially if you’re handling the matters without any professional and legal help.

If you’re facing any trouble evicting your tenants or dealing with squatters, reach out to Landlord Assist. We can guide you on how to deal with tenancy issues in a legally accepted manner and will free you of any and all unnecessary burdens of going to courts and hearings.

If you’re just looking for some legal advice pertaining to your tenants, we can offer informal advice and guidance free of cost.

Our property specialists and experts in landlord and tenant law here at Landlord Assist have over 15 years of experience helping landlords through the tenant eviction UK procedure and other tenancy disputes.

 From drafting action letters, send Section 8 notice and issue Section 21 notice, filing possession claims to instructing bailiffs, we can efficiently and effectively work through your predicament. We have a proven track record for success. Get in touch with us to hire our expert legal services today by calling 01843 223223 or emailing

Consult our Landlord and Tenant team to find out how we can help you.