A new form has been issued by the courts for claims for possession under the accelerated procedure, form N5B. So if you do this work, take note!
The new form is considerably more streamlined and is more precise in the information asked for. However it is now completed almost entirely by ticking boxes which makes it difficult if there is something unusual you need to explain.
In particular the old paragraph allowing additional information to be provided has been completely removed. No doubt this is due to the Judges being fed up with some claimants using this to add irrelevant information (generally in crabby handwriting in green ink), but it makes it a bit difficult if there is something relevant you want the Judge to know about.
For example I can think of two situations where you may want to give the Judge extra information. One is where you have used a section 21 which does not give an expiry date, under the rule first allowed in the case of Lower Street Properties v. Jones. The other is where the landlord is a landlord by purchase and you want to provide further information about this (after having answered no to question 4b).
There are I suppose two ways you can deal with this:
- One is write on the form at the relevant point “See annexed page headed A” or something similar and then write your explanation on the extra page and include this with the court paperwork.
- The other is to create an extra field on the form, but you need to have Adobe Pro to do this.
Perhaps the most confusing part of the form is paragraph 7 which deals with tenancy deposits. The form refers to a “Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)” and asks for a reference number. Some people might take it that the wording just refers just to the scheme run by the company called the Dispute Service (and generally known as TDS). Whereas this question must be referring to the ID number issued by any of the schemes.
It is in retrospect extraordinary that The Dispute Service were allowed to call their scheme Tenancy Deposit Scheme or use the initials TDS, as it is so inherently confusing.
I also note that the form seems to contemplate that not more than two claimants or defendants will ever be involved in this kind of claim, as only two boxes are provided for their details! I suppose if necessary two names can be squeezed into each of the boxes. It should not be necessary to have more than four names as only four people can hold a legal estate in land.
My Do it Yourself Kit has been amended now to take account of the new form, but I am planning on completely re-doing the entire kit in a new format, so watch this space!
What do people think of the new form N5b? Are there any other problems with the new format?