Introductory tenancy

This section explains the way we support you and deal with rent arrears for introductory tenants.

How soon do you start taking action?

We will contact you by letter and sometimes by telephone , email or text after you have missed 2 weeks rent and ask you to put things right making a payment arrangement to clear your debt as quickly as possible.

What is a Notice of Possession Proceedings (NOPP)?

Introductory Tenants have less rights and less security. This means if we take legal action for rent arrears the Court has to give us possession of the property. Because of this Introductory Tenants have a right of appeal against our decision to serve a notice against you.

If you fail to contact us or fail to keep a payment arrangement you will be served with a Notice of Possession Proceedings. This notice is the first stage of the formal legal action to repossess your home. The notice gives you either 28 days or 56 days to clear your arrears (debt) in full.

Can I request a review of the decision to serve a notice on me?

As an Introductory Tenant you have a right to ask us to review our decision within 14 days of serving the notice on you.

You can ask for a review many different ways:

You will need to tell us why you think we should not have served you with the notice and provide us with any documents you want us to use as evidence to support your case.

 

 

What happens at a review panel?

We will set up a review panel hearing. The panel is made up of three people who have not been involved in your case. They are either Berneslai Homes Board Members, tenants or residents.

At each panel hearing, there will always be at least one board member and one tenant or resident representative. The third member can be either a board member or a tenant or resident representative.

A senior officer from Customer Services will attend in an advisory role.

We will write to you at least five days before the review telling you when and where it will take place.

You can go to the review. Or, if you prefer, you can ask someone else to go to the review to represent you. You can also ask us to read out, on your behalf, a written statement you have sent us and you can have representatives to support your case.

The panel will consider:

  • any information you provide; and
  • any information the officers provide.

The Panel can make one of two decisions in respect of the NOPP:

  • To agree with the decision to seek possession.
  • To disagree with the decision to seek possession. In this case the notice would be cancelled.

If you go to the review panel, we will tell you the panel’s decision at the meeting. We will also confirm this decision in writing within 5 working days or before the date stated in your notice, which tells you when we can ask the court for permission to evict you.

What happens if you want to take me to court?

If we ask the court for permission to evict you, the court will arrange a court hearing. The court will contact you to tell you when this hearing will be.

Possession hearings are held in the County Court and a District Judge will listen to you and our Rent Recovery Officer.

The court’s role is to make sure that we have followed correct procedures in serving the ‘notice of possession’.

The court will make one of two decisions.

  1. If we have followed the correct procedures, the court must give us permission to evict you. The court will then write to you telling you when you have to leave your home. If you clear your arrears after the court has granted a possession order we can choose not to enforce the eviction. The tenancy would continue as an introductory tenancy.
  2. If the court rules that we have not followed correct procedures, we will withdraw the notice of possession proceedings. We will still monitor your tenancy and we can take action again if we need to. However, we would have to serve another notice of possession proceedings.
What happens if you want to evict me?

The warrant served by the Court Bailiff will show the date for your eviction. On the date of the eviction the Bailiff will arrive at your home with officers from Berneslai Homes. You will have to leave the property and the locks will be changed.

You will have to make arrangements to clear any remaining belongings from the property.

We will not offer you another property to move into.

Where can I get help from?

If you want independent advice on your situation, you should contact a Citizens Advice Bureau (phone 03444 111444), housing aid centre, law centre or a solicitor.

If you want advice about the possibility of homelessness, you should contact the Housing Options, Advice and Homelessness Prevention Service on 01226 773870.

How can I clear my arrears?

You can pay your rent the following ways:

  • Using our Online rent payment system
  • Phoning our automated payment line on 01226 775445

If you clear your arrears after the court has granted a possession order we can choose not to enforce the eviction. The tenancy would continue as an introductory tenancy.