Tenants face eviction without a hearing

TENANTS should be aware of new rules that mean they can be evicted without a court hearing, writes Caroline Merrell.

Accelerated possession proceedings can only be used against assured tenants and assured shorthold tenants in certain circumstances.

A landlord cannot use them if he wishes to evict tenants because they are behind in rent, and they only apply where tenants have a written tenancy agreement.

Before implementing the new proceedings, the landlord must serve the tenant with two months' notice. The court will then issue notice of a possession order. The tenant has only 14 days to reply, giving details of circumstances. The court can then issue an eviction order.

Ruth Lawrance, a campaigner with the Camden Confederation of Private Tenants, said: 'In the past tenants had a basic right to have their case heard in open court. It will lead to rubber-stamp evictions.'

The Camden tenants group said that the two-week reply period could lead to a situation, for example, where tenants returning from holiday could find that their locks had been changed.