CPR 55 Possession Claim Costs

 

 

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What is CPR 55?

Part 55 of the Civil Procedure Rules applies to possession claims in England and Wales. Possession claims are legal proceedings brought by a landlord or mortgage lender seeking to regain possession of a property from a tenant or borrower. A claim against trespassers can also be made under this section.

CPR 55 sets out the procedural steps that a landlord or mortgage lender must follow in possession proceedings to obtain an order for possession. This includes the requirement to serve a valid notice seeking possession at the County Court or High Court, the time frames for filing and serving a claim form and particulars of claim, and the rules for the hearing of the case.

CPR 55 also sets out the procedure for a tenant or borrower to defend a possession claim brought against them. This includes the requirement to file a defense, the time frames for doing so, and the rules for the hearing of the case.

It is important for both landlords and tenants to be familiar with CPR 55 in relation to possession claims, as failure to follow the correct procedure can result in a delay or even the dismissal of a claim.

 

Grounds for Making a Possession Claim under CPR 55

The grounds for making a possession claim under CPR 55 depend on the type of claim being brought.

For a section 21 claim, a landlord is entitled to possession if they have provided the tenant with two months’ notice and does not require a specific reason for seeking possession.

For a section 8 claim, the grounds for possession are that the landlord has a specific reason for seeking possession, such as arrears of rent or a breach of the tenancy agreement. The specific grounds for making a section 8 claim are set out in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 and include:

  • Rent arrears: The tenant has failed to pay rent for at least two months.
  • Breach of tenancy agreement: The tenant has breached a term of the tenancy agreement, such as causing damage to the property or subletting without permission.
  • Anti-social behavior: The tenant has engaged in behavior that is a nuisance or annoyance to neighbors.
  • False statement: The tenant provided false information when entering into the tenancy agreement.
  • End of a fixed term tenancy: The fixed term tenancy has come to an end and the tenant has not left the property.

For a mortgage repossession claim, the grounds are usually that the borrower has failed to keep up with their mortgage repayments.

It is important to note that a possession claim can only be brought if the landlord or mortgage lender has a valid right to possession of the property, such as a valid lease or mortgage agreement, and has followed the correct procedure for seeking possession, as set out in CPR 55 and the relevant legislation.

 

Possession Claim Costs

Possession claim costs can fall to be assessed on either a fixed costs or standard basis, and the losing party will be required to pay these costs.

In an accelerated possession claim, where the Defendant does not bring a counterclaim nor otherwise denies liability, the costs will typically be lower. If the Defendant does defend the claim and it goes to trial, the costs will be higher to reflect the increased time and effort required to resolve the dispute.

It’s important to note that fixed costs generally only apply in undefended cases, as per CPR 45.1(2)(d) however, it is common for their to be a contractual obligation to pay full standard basis costs in any tenancy agreement, which overrides the provisions of CPR 45.1.  This position was reaffirmed in the matters of Gomba Holdings (UK) Ltd v Minories Finance Ltd (No.2) [1993] Ch. 171 and Church Commissioners v Ibrahim [1997] EGLR 13.  In such cases where costs are to be assessed, an N260 Statement of Costs will be needed for any final hearing, or a Bill of Costs will be required for any detailed assessment.

Even if fixed costs apply, it should be noted that this only covers a portion of the overall costs of bringing a possession claim. Parties may still incur additional costs such as Court fees and disbursements, which will be payable by the losing party.

Interestingly, CPR 55.9(3) stipulates that even if a possession claim is allocated to the Small Claims Track, for costs purposes, it is to be treated as if it is a Fast Track type matter.  In these types of claims, fixed/standard basis costs will apply even though the Small Claims Track typically prevents recovery of such charges. The case of Chaplair Limited v Kumari [2015] EWCA Civ 798 confirms the use of fixed costs in the Small Claims track. In contested possession cases, the court will often assign them to the Small Claims track and the fixed costs rules must be followed.

In this case, the Claimant, Chaplair Limited, sought to recover possession of a property from the Defendant, Kumari. The proceedings were allocated to the Small Claims track and the Claimant sought to recover its costs from the Defendant. However, the Defendant argued that the fixed costs rules should not apply and that the Claimant should not be entitled to recover its costs in full.

The Court of Appeal rejected the Defendant’s argument and confirmed that the fixed costs rules applied to possession proceedings that are allocated to the Small Claims track. The court emphasized the principle of the primacy of contract in relation to costs for matters allocated to the Small Claims track, stating that parties are free to agree on their own costs arrangements, provided they are not inconsistent with the rules.

 

What are the Costs Position if a Possession Claim is Defended?

 

Fixed costs should only apply to the simplest matters where a claim is undefended.  If the matter is contested, then standard basis costs rules will apply by default, and it is likely that such costs will either be summarily assessed at any final hearing, or if concluded by way of Part 36 or at a final hearing where summary assessment does not take place, costs will need to be assessed by way of detailed assessment.

 

How can ARC Costs Assist with Possession Claim Costs under CPR 55?

ARC Costs can assist will all aspects of claiming or defending possession claim costs under CPR 55.

ARC Costs are a team of independent Costs Draftsmen and Costs Lawyers who regularly assist you in the recovery/contention of costs. Whether you are the Paying Party or the Receiving Party, we hold vast experience in dealing with costs matters on both sides. We can assist in fixed recoverable costs cases and cases where costs are awarded on the standard basis, including the preparation/challenging of Bills of Costs, conducting of detailed assessment proceedings, and the preparation of Points of Dispute/Reply.

Should you require our assistance or have any further queries regarding costs, please contact us on 01204 397 302 or email one of the team at info@arccosts.co.uk. Alternatively, please complete our online enquiry form, and we will contact you to discuss your query or speak to our staff using the live chat function.

 

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