Suspended Possession Order
Following the Court of Appeal decision in Cardiff County Council v Lee it was made clear that landlords who are considering applying for a warrant following a Defendant/tenant’s breach of a Suspended Possession Order (“SPO”) should first ensure that they obtain permission from the Court to apply for a warrant. Our note on this decision can be found here.
Obtaining a Suspended Possession Order
Since then, there has been a concern amongst landlords regarding the best way in which to obtain such permission. In order to alleviate some of these concerns the Court produced and released 2 new forms on their website on 21 December 2016 which should be used immediately:
- Form N325A (Request for Warrant for Possession of land following a suspended order for possession) can be found here and;
- Form N445 (Request for reissue of warrant) can be found here.
It appears that the forms are substantially the same as previously used but now include the following wording:
“(3) a statement of the payments due and made under the judgment or order is attached to this request.”
Forms N325A or N445
The inclusion of this new wording suggests (but is not yet confirmed officially in guidance) that a landlord should use forms N325A or N445 when applying for a warrant following a Defendant/tenant’s breach of an SPO, negating the need to make a separate application for permission to apply for the warrant on Form N244. The N325A or N445 will instead act as both the landlord’s application for permission and request for a warrant in one, meaning that there will be only 1 fee payable of £121.
Finally, a bit of good news for landlords…except that it is not currently clear whether the new forms can be used for ASB SPOs. The N235A is slightly contradictory in that it is named a “Request for Warrant for Possession of land following a suspended order for possession” which seems to suggest it should apply to all SPO cases but then refers at paragraph (3) to attaching a “statement of the payments due and made” which would suggest it only applies to rent arrears cases.
Therefore, in an ASB SPO case it is unclear whether a landlord will still be expected to make a formal application to the Court for permission to enforce the warrant on Form N244 (with the accompanying fee of £100 for a without notice application) and then separately request a warrant with the additional fee of £121. It is also unclear whether a landlord should be using the old form N325 or the new N325A when requesting the warrant for possession.
Hopefully the CPR committee will provide some guidance in relation to this but in the meantime, we suggest that in ASB SPO cases you use Forms N325A and N445 as your application for permission and request for warrant for possession in one (as above) so that you are only required to pay the 1 fee of £121. We advise when using the N235A or N445 for ASB SPO cases that you make a hand written amendment to paragraph (3) as follows:
“(3) a statement of the payments due and made breaches under the judgment or order is attached to this request”
and then attach a statement detailing the Defendant/tenant’s breach of the ASB SPO in relation to ASB.
We are aware that there has been some discussion in the CPR Committee that obtaining permission to apply for a warrant should not be required for ASB SPOs and we are hoping for guidance on this in April 2017.
If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact our Social Housing Team on 01753 876800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ENDS 22 December 2016