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Serious Rent Arrears – No Excuse

Serious Rent Arrears – No Excuse

In a recent case, we obtained a Possession Order against a tenant who owed, at the date of
the Notice of Seeking Possession (NOSP) £4,400, and by the date of the hearing, £12,000.
The tenant told a convincing story that he had simply fallen on hard times in that his
employer had failed to pay him, meaning that he was unable to pay his rent. The tenant told
a convincing story and had the sympathy of the Court, but it was irrelevant when it came to
issue the Possession Order. The legislation (Housing Act 1988) is clear that once the tenant
is in serious rent arrears (which in this case, was two months’ rent arrears, as rent was
payable monthly) at the date of the Notice AND ALSO at the date of the hearing, the Court
had no choice but to order possession. The Court could not enter into a discussion as to the
reasons for the arrears. The Court does have a discretion to extend the period after which
the Possession Order will become effective if either the landlord consents to a longer period
of time, or if the tenant would face substantial hardship. There must be serious
circumstances to constitute exceptional circumstances, such as a tenant needing medical
treatment at the property for a period of time. The inconvenience of being made homeless is
not itself, exceptional hardship. The point we make here, however, is that the tenant’s
reasons are generally not relevant when it comes to a possession hearing. A landlord facing
unpaid rent may also face compelling reasons from the tenant as to why they simply are
unable to pay their rent. The law is not concerned to go into the details when it comes to
serious rent arrears cases.

If you are a landlord with a tenant in serious rent
arrears, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0208 858 5996

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