Defending Possessions Proceedings

Our solicitors are well known for representing tenants who find themselves facing claims for possession of their homes. At Hodge Jones & Allen, we understand how difficult and stressful this situation can be, and will fight to protect your rights and obtain the best outcome possible.

In order to obtain a possession order and be able to evict a tenant from their home, landlords must always adhere to the correct legal procedures. In the majority of cases they will be required to serve a notice and obtain a possession order from the Court before you can legally be evicted. Our specialist housing solicitors will explain how the law applies to your specific situation and will passionately defend your rights.

Landlords are also legally obliged to allow their tenants ‘quiet enjoyment’ of their property, and permit utilities like gas and electricity to be supplied to it. They cannot evict you without going through the correct legal procedures, enter the property without your permission, damage your property or harass you. If you believe your landlord has acted unlawfully, please read our Unlawful Evictions page.

If you have received a notice seeking possession, a claim form and/or a notice of hearing, do get in touch with us as soon as possible. Contact our lawyers now.

What is the possession procedure?

  • Notice

If your Landlord decides to start possession proceedings against you, they will first have to serve you with a notice. The notice can be served for a variety of reasons including:

  • Rent arrears
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Sub-letting
  • You are not living at the property
  • Other breaches of your tenancy

The length of notice will depend on what allegations are being made against you

For tenants with Assured Shorthold Tenancies, the most common notice is a section 21 notice. This notice requires that the landlord provides at least two months’ notice before proceedings are issued. However, the notice does not require the landlord to provide a reason.

  • Possession Hearing

After a claim is issued at court you will receive court papers, which will include:

  • The Claim form
  • Particulars of claim
  • A time and date for a hearing

A Defence form

You will have 14 days in which to put in your Defence and any Counterclaim you wish to make. If you file an acknowledgement of service you will have an additional 14 days, 28 days total. Although, this is not the case for section 21 claims.

With section 21 claims, unless a tenant files a Defence, a Judge will usually be able to deal with the claim without a hearing. Therefore, it is important a Defence is filed so that a hearing is listed and you have the opportunity to put across your case..

  • Eviction

Once a possession order has been made and the time to leave the property has passed, your landlord can apply for a warrant of eviction.

You will receive a copy of the warrant once it has been issued by the court. It will list a time and date for your eviction. On the eviction date a court bailiff will attend the property. You will usually be given a short time in which to collect your belongings before vacating.

You can seek to suspend the warrant by making an application to court. In rent arrears cases, this is usually to propose a payment plan.

Mortgage Re-possession

If your landlord or mortgage provider is taking action against you to re-possess the property you live in, you will want to understand the legal process involved and ensure it is carried out within the law.

Hodge Jones & Allen, is well known for representing homeowners who find themselves facing possession claims, so we understand how to protect your rights and fight your corner. Whatever your circumstances, we will do everything we can to protect the roof over your head.

What you need to know about re-possession

Your mortgage lender has to follow rules about how they deal with you. Before taking any court action your lender must follow pre-action protocol rules. Therefore, your lender should only take court action as a last resort. You should note however, that the pre-action protocol does not cover buy-to-let mortgages so if you have tenants living at the property they might have the right to stay even if your home is repossessed.

In most cases, your lender will try and seek possession because you are in arrears. If you are in mortgage arrears then you should negotiate with your lender and consider how to move forward without the need for court action. Your lender must treat you fairly and they must consider any reasonable suggestion you make to pay off your arrears. Your lender should discuss your financial situation and give you a reasonable chance to pay off your arrears and keep your home. They must also send you one of these leaflets offering advice on steps you can take to keep your home:

Your lender can delay court action for several reasons, for example if you are likely to apply for support for mortgage interest or you make a claim under the mortgage payment protection policy. Other reasons also include a reasonable payment plan or if you decide to sell the property.

There have been many occasions where we have assisted clients to negotiate a reasonable payment plan and stop them from being evicted from their home.

If all options are exhausted, your lender will apply to the court to repossess your property. You will receive a court order with the date of the hearing and your lender’s reasons for seeking possession. You should seek legal advice at this stage to consider whether you can defend your case, and if so, how.

What is the process of getting legal assistance?

  • Contact us

Contact our free 24/7 number and a member of our team will assess your case. Once accessed they will be able to allocate to the most appropriate team member to assist.

  • Communication

Your representative solicitor will talk you through the matter and keep you update of the progress. They will also explain the different funding options available.

  • Conclusion

We will work very hard to get the best outcome for you. On completion of the matter we will contact you to ensure you are satisfied with the outcome.

Why Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors?

  • Expertise

Our experienced housing lawyers can help protect you from unlawful eviction and, if your landlord has broken the law, we can assist you with a claim for compensation.

  • Lawyers you can trust

Hodge Jones & Allen are recognised as one of the highest ranking law firms for social housing and tenant law in the UK. We are one of only four firms in the UK to be listed as a Tier 1 firm for this area of law in the Legal 500 guide. We are also recommended as a leading team in housing law by Chambers UK.

  • Fighting for your rights!

You will find our solicitors are passionately committed to defending the rights of those in need of housing. We will fight rigorously to get the best possible result we can achieve.

Case studies

Our housing solicitors regularly act for clients who are facing claims for possession of their home. Read about some of our recent cases by viewing our possession case studies.

Frequently asked questions

What should I do if my landlord alleges anti-social behaviour?

If your housing association or social landlord is taking legal action against you for alleged anti-social behaviour, we can help defend your case every step of the way, including representation in the County Court.

We can also help you defend an application made by your housing association or social landlord for contempt of Court based upon an alleged disobedience to an order made in the County Court.

Our specialist solicitors have successfully defended many residents faced with legal action for anti-social behaviour. We will identify any weaknesses in the case against you and persuasively argue for the case to be dismissed or for leniency to be applied to take account of any special circumstances.

How long do I have until I have to leave after possession order?

A possession order is usually made which requires the tenant to leave within 14 days. However, the time can be extended up to a maximum of 56 days if a tenant is able to show that they would suffer exceptional hardship.

What if I am unable to take all of my belongings when I am evicted?

You should contact your landlord to agree a time and date to pick up any remaining items.

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