05/08/2020

Don’t believe the type – N11B Defence form goes wrong

Our grateful thanks to Jo Underwood of Shelter for spotting this.

The N11B Defence form to a section 21 possession claim via form N5B – both released April 2020 – doesn’t add up. Quite literally.

Question 2 of the N11B asks

Do you agree the date, in section 3 of the claim form, when the claimant says the tenancy began?

But section 3 of the N5B says:

Are you (the claimant) asking for an order that the defendant pay the costs of this claim?

Question 3 of the N11B asks

Do you agree with what is said in section 4 of the claim form? Yes
No – say why you disagree with any of the statements made:

But section 4 of the N5B asks

What is the address of the property you are claim possession of? (sic)

Which I suppose might be disagreed with, but not ‘any of the statements made’.

Question 5 of the N11B asks

Do you agree with the rest of what is said in section 5 of the claim form about the s.21 Notice?

Section 5 of the claim form says

Is the property
a dwelling house
part of a dwelling house

So not about the s.21 notice at all.

Question 6 of the defence form asks:

Do you agree that what is said in section 6 of the claim form about licensing of the property is correct?

But section 6 of the claim form says

On what date was the property let to the Defendant by way of a written tenancy agreement?

Licensing is actually at section 11 and 11a of the claim form.

And so on, and on, and on.

This is a serious problem. Neither of the forms – the claim form or the defence form – are straightforward, let alone for use by litigants in person. But the defence form becomes almost unintelligible if the defendant tenant has to search through the claim form for the section that they guess the defence form might be referring to, without any certainty that they’ve got it right.

This needs sorting, and quickly, given the prospect of a lot of section 21 claims in the near future…

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

8 Comments

  1. John

    Why are the following included on N5B?:-

    “15i. Is the property genuinely on the market for sale with intent to sell
    to an independent person not associated with the Claimant?

    15j. Is the Claimant a mortgagee whose mortgage pre-dated the
    tenancy and who requires vacant possession to sell the property
    under an existing power of sale?”

    What effect would “No” have to either of these questions?

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      On a s.21 accelerated claim, no effect.

      Reply
  2. Mara D

    “Is the property genuinely on the market for sale” – is this question about a retaliatory eviction where S21 is barred for 6 months if the defendant has complained to the council?

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Ah yes, of course it is – Deregulation Act 2015 section 34 exceptions to section 33. I wonder if it has ever been used…

      Reply
  3. Ben Reeve-Lewis

    “I wonder if it has ever been used” Safer Renting have dealt with around 450 rogue landlord cases since the Dereg Act came in. Not seen a single s33 case. ts so tightly prescribed its not worth bothering with

    Reply
    • Mara D

      Hi Ben, do you mean “so tightly prescribed it’s not worth bothering with” as in most tenants haven’t or don’t follow the exact steps required, or LLs don’t try it on after a complaint has been made?

      Reply
  4. Ben Reeve-Lewis

    I find the circumstances never align Mara. The landlord has to be put on notice “in writing” they rarely are and s33 only counts if the council serves one of only three types of notice, not the plethora of notices that they can serve. It gets misreported so often as “Revenge evictions” which although understood generally, isnt “Retaliatory eviction” which has a legal definition, which as I say here rarely comes up and in Safer Renting’s experience since April 2016, working in 7 London boroughs, we have never even seen

    Reply
    • Mara D

      Yes, far too many cases of a council serving an informal notice for a category 1 hazard where a formal notice is required. If there has never been a s33 it’s inclusion on the N5B form appears to be redundant, particularly when the “genuinely for sale” phrase is open to interpretation (eg if a property’s price is overinflated by 200% is it genuinely for sale?).

      Reply

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