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Property Case Study: Gaining Possession - Not always a simple process

Open Property Group purchased a first floor flat in Leytonstone, East London in July 2015. The flat was purchased with 59-years remaining on the lease and was subject to an assured shorthold tenancy.

Like many other landlords, Open property Group wanted to gain vacant possession of the property as the tenant was in rent arrears and began the process by serving a section 21 notice. This was served in April 2016 however the tenant filed a defence.

The first reason for the defence was because the property required a private rented property licence. These licences must be issued by the local Council. We received the license in November 2016, seven months after the original section 21 notice had been served.

The tenant also disputed the rent deposit repayment figure. Once both disputes had been resolved a second notice was served. Open Property Group were finally granted possession after a court hearing on the 7th February 2017.

The tenant did not vacate the property and a bailiff date was set for May 2017. Almost three months after possession had been granted and 13 months from when the initial section 21 notice had been served.

The central London courts now have a new system for instructing bailiffs. They send all requests to a central unit who then send out a Bailiff Risk Assessment form to be completed before they set a date for the bailiff's appointment.

The process took a total of 13 months and the rent arrears were more than £6000. In addition to this we have had to pay legal costs, barrister fees and bailiffs charges.

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