Suspended Orders for possession –

A useful reminder

The recent Court of Appeal decision in Cardiff City Council v Lee (2016 EWCA Civ 1034) should serve as a useful reminder as to what steps a landlord needs to take to enforce suspended orders for possession.

It is sometimes the case that a landlord seeks possession of residential premises for breach of a term of the lease.

Rather than make an outright order for possession, the court may sometimes give the tenant the benefit of the doubt and suspend the possession order on terms that prevent the order for possession from being enforced, unless the tenant breaches the conditions imposed by the suspended possession order.

In the above case the court made a suspended order for possession against the tenant who had committed repeated acts which had caused a nuisance and annoyance to his neighbours. The court suspended the possession order on terms that the tenant observed the terms of his tenancy agreement.

The tenant breached the terms of the order and the Landlord applied for a warrant of possession to remove the tenant from the property. The tenant applied to stay the warrant because the landlord had not followed the correct procedure.

The Civil Procedure Rules state (CPR 83.2 (3) (E)) that “a warrant may not be issued without the courts permission where under the judgement or order, any person is entitled to a remedy subject to the fulfilment of any condition, and it is alleged that the condition has been fulfilled “.

Therefore, in short, before the landlord sought to evict the tenant it should have applied for the courts permission first before applying for a warrant of possession.

Whilst the court has a discretion to remedy the defect under CPR 3.10 the court stressed that “CPR 83.2 constitutes an important protection for tenants. It must not be taken lightly “.

Therefore, if you are a Landlord that wishes to enforce a suspended order for possession you must apply for the courts permission before applying for a warrant of eviction.

However, the wording of the section is such that permission will only be required if the tenant alleges that it has complied with the condition of the suspended order. If the tenant admits that they have not complied, then permission will not be required prior to making an application for a warrant of possession.

For further information on the issues which arise from this article please contact Andrew Grant on 01244 394 230.

This article is for general guidance only and should not be regarded as specific legal advice on any of the issues contained therein.

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