Who Pays Court Costs for an Eviction in the UK?
Going to court to evict a tenant is usually a last resort, but unfortunately, it is sometimes a necessity for landlords. While no landlord wants to escalate a dispute, receiving a favourable court decision can be a massive weight off your shoulders when dealing with difficult tenants. First, however, you need to understand what the potential court fees are in the UK and who pays them, so that you do not end up having to pay court costs that you cannot afford.
There are plenty of reasons why landlords may feel it is necessary to evict a tenant. Sometimes these situations can be dealt with quickly and efficiently with no issues between the landlord and tenant, and no need for further legal assistance. However, occasionally evicting a tenant is much easier said than done.
Disputes regarding evictions can end up in court, where a judge will decide on the outcome. This is often the only option landlords have to remove the tenant from the property. Before a landlord decides to go to court, however, they should understand what the court's fees are and who will end up paying them.
In this short guide, we explain exactly what court fees you can expect to face, whether you can ask the tenant to pay these fees, and how Percy Hughes & Roberts Solicitors can assist with tenant disputes or any eviction proceedings you may wish to pursue. If you have any questions we have not answered, our specialist landlord solicitors are happy to speak to you regarding your landlord query. You can contact us by completing the enquiry form below or by calling 0151 666 9090.
What Are The Court Fees For Evicting A Tenant?
Evicting a tenant in the UK can cost anywhere between £1,300 and £2,200, depending on whether you go through the County Court or the High Court. These fees include:
- Serving notice
- Possession orders
- Bailiffs to Enforce Possession Orders
Both an accelerated possession order and a standard possession cost £355.
Taking your matter to the High Court is around £900 more expensive than using a County Court, but it is significantly faster. These types of cases in the High Court can take just 7 days, which can shave weeks or even months off the eviction process when compared to the Country Court.
An Eviction in the UK - Who Pays Court Costs?
Who pays for court costs for an eviction in the UK depends on the circumstances of the case. Generally speaking, a landlord is responsible for their court costs and legal fees. However, in some scenarios a tenant may be forced to cover some, if not all, of the court costs.
Some of these scenarios include:
- When there is a clause in the tenancy agreement relating to who pays court costs for an eviction
- If the tenant has behaved unreasonably and added to the landlord’s costs
- If the judge awards a possession order with costs
If the judge hands down a favourable decision to the landlord and awards a possession order with costs, landlords can often reclaim some of the fixed costs. These fixed costs include:
- The court fee of between £325-£355
- A judgement cost of approximately £57
- Costs on commencement, between £15-£77
The court may also choose to alter the fixed costs if the defendant has shown unreasonable conduct throughout the case which has added to the claimant’s costs.
Money awarded by the courts to a successful landlord will only cover the fixed costs, rather than any actual expense of the legal proceedings. Legal expenses can only be recovered if a clause is included in the tenancy agreement.
How Do You Recover Court Costs From A Tenant?
Recovering costs from a tenant is often not straightforward. In circumstances where a landlord is unable to recover legal costs of proceedings directly from the tenant, or there is no clear provision within the tenancy agreement allowing for the recovery of administration charges, it is often common practice to recover costs through a general service charge.
Often, there is a clause in a tenancy agreement that allows the landlord to pass on the costs of court proceedings to tenants through service charges. Service charges are property maintenance payments paid to the landlord. They are used for repairs, general upkeep and building insurance.
Service charge claims in the County Court are usually processed through the small claims track. This is a “court procedure for dealing with the resolution of civil disputes used for claims of £10,000 or less”.
Can I Get Help With Court Fees?
Landlords may be entitled to assistance when paying court and tribunal fees. Firstly, many landlords take out legal expenses insurance. This type of insurance is typically sold as an “add-on” when buying home contents and building insurance. This policy can cover legal costs if the case goes to court when evicting a tenant.
In addition to this, landlords may qualify for help from the government if they do not have much in the way of savings. In England and Wales, you may qualify if:
- Your court fee is between £1,000 and £10,000 and you have less than £16,000 in savings
- You are over 61 and have less than £16,000 in savings
- You are on benefits or have a low income
We recommend getting expert legal advice before taking a tenant to court. An experienced solicitor can advise you about both the average costs to take a case to court and the legal fees you might face, which can help you to plan how you will approach the eviction process.
How Can Percy Hughes & Roberts Help?
Tenant disputes can be hugely stressful for landlords, especially if you have to go to court to gain possession of the property. Understanding court fees and who pays what can put you in good stead should any eviction disputes arise in the future.
Percy Hughes & Roberts' specialist landlord team, based in Birkenhead, has been delivering the highest quality legal services for clients across the Wirral, Merseyside and the North West for more than 100 years. We understand that serving an eviction notice can be daunting, and the court process can be difficult to navigate for inexperienced landlords. Our eviction specialists can provide expert legal advice and instruct you on your next steps to ensure that you reach the best outcome for you.
Our landlord solicitors can help you with a range of issues relating to landlords and tenants and represent numerous landlords both residential and commercial. For more information on our landlord services, do not hesitate to get in touch with our expert solicitors today. Call us on 0151 666 9090, or send us your query by email by filling in our online contact form.
Contact Percy Hughes & Roberts
To speak to an employment law solicitor for advice, contact Percy Hughes & Roberts for a no-obligation phone consultation today. We provide ourselves on offering expert advice that's easy to understand, and we will be with you through every step of the legal process.
Call us on 0151 666 9090, or fill out an online enquiry form to arrange for us to get in touch at a time that's suitable for you.