It is common practice for a landlord to enforce a suspended possession order following a breach of the terms of that order simply by sending a Form N325 Warrant Request to court with the appropriate fee. However, the procedure for applying for a warrant for possession has come under scrutiny from the Court of Appeal.
On the 19 October 2016 the Court of Appeal considered the case of Cardiff County Council v Lee (Flowers). In that case the Court was asked to consider whether or not the landlord needed to first obtain permission from the court before applying for a warrant for possession following the breach of a suspended possession order in order to carry out an eviction. The Court of Appeal decided that permission must be sought from the court because of the wording of Civil Procedure Rule 83.2.
Therefore, where a suspended possession order has been breached and the landlord wishes to take action to enforce the suspended possession order by applying for a warrant for possession, the landlord must first make an application to the court explaining the breach and asking for permission to be able to enforce the possession order. That application should be made in the normal way by way of an application notice (Form N244) together with payment of the appropriate fee. This provides a further level of protection to the tenant but also a further layer of cost to the landlord.
Landlord’s, particularly where they are dealing with possession cases themselves, must make sure that they comply with CPR 83.2 and make the necessary application to court seeking permission to enforce a possession order where the terms of the suspended order have been breached. Once permission has been granted by the court the landlord is then entitled to apply for a warrant by sending the N325 Warrant Request Form to the court.
For further information, please contact Neil Lawlor. Neil is a Partner at Devonshires Solicitors LLP.