Court fees for possession claims will see one of the largest percentage increases in years from 22 April 2014.
Currently, an accelerated possession claim used after service of a section 21 notice costs £175. The same fee also applies for the standard paper application for possession which is mainly used after service of a section 8 notice. From 22 April 2014, the fee for these possession claims will increase to £280.00.
The possession claim online (PCOL) service which can only be used after service of a section 8 notice on rent arrears grounds, currently has a substantially discounted fee of £100. However, from 22 April, this will have a massive jump in price to £250 which represents a much smaller discount for using the online system.
The only fee which doesn’t seem to have changed is the warrant of possession when the bailiff is required which remains at £110.
In relation to the increase in fees which apply to possession claims, the government have responded 1 by saying at paras 33 & 34:
Having carefully considered the comments made, the Government has decided to press ahead with the change. Although it is recognised that in some instances the fee rise is high, it considers that the benefits brought by a simplified approach with a fee which reflects the average cost of issuing such proceedings justifies the change. Fee remissions will be available for those with low capital and income and in cases such as possession claims, it is expected that the court fees would be passed on to the debtor as part of any cost award.
The fact that higher fees would be passed on to the debtor was highlighted in some responses, with concern expressed that this would simply increase their debt burden. The Government considers that it is appropriate to recover the cost of these proceedings through fees and as such it is unavoidable that the higher fees will be transferred to the losing party in the form of costs. If a creditor incurs those costs through being forced to pursue a case to the courts, it is just that they should be expected to be met by the debtor.
Money claim fees have also increased but only from the point where the amount of the claim exceeds £1,500. These fees are on a tiered basis dependent on the claim amount. For example, the fee for a claim which exceeds £3,000 but does not exceed £5,000 rises from £120 to £205.
A table containing the current and new fees can be found in annex a from page 41 of the consultation response.