Small Claims Proceedings Guidance

This page contains guidance for making a small claim in court and includes the pre-action letter of claim. The Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims commences on 1 October 2017 for England and Wales. The Protocol applies to any business (including sole traders and public bodies) claiming payment of a debt from an individual (including a sole trader). It, therefore, applies to all landlords recovering a debt from a tenant and guarantor (where the tenant/guarantor is an individual). The Protocol will also apply to letting agents seeking to recover a debt owed to them directly from an individual. The Protocol aims to encourage early engagement and communication between the parties and enable the parties to resolve the matter without the need to start court proceedings.

View Related Handbook Page

Applying to the Court for Rent Arrears Only

If it is not necessary to obtain possession, a landlord may wish to make a claim under the terms of the tenancy agreement for debt using the small claims procedure of the County Court. The amount awarded by the court will be determined at the trial date. If a claim is being made for interest on arrears, this must be stated on the claim form because interest will not automatically be added to the debt. If the sum is cleared and further arrears arise, it will be necessary to submit an additional claim.

Preventing, Controlling and Recovering Rent Arrears

The tenant's responsibility is to make sure rent is paid in full, on time and in the manner agreed in the tenancy agreement.