Changing a possession order
If a possession order is made it might be possible to apply to have the order cancelled, the terms of the order changed, or the date in the possession order delayed.
When a possession order can’t be changed
A court can’t usually change a possession order if you are:
- an assured shorthold tenant and your landlord used the ‘section 21 – no fault’ procedure
- an assured tenant and your landlord has used a mandatory ground for possession
- council tenant with an introductory tenancy or demoted tenancy.
You may be able to appeal against the decision if your landlord didn’t follow the correct procedure and the judge made the possession order in error.
Cancelling a possession order
You might be able to apply to the court to cancel or ‘set aside’ the possession order if you didn’t go to the court hearing and you can argue that the order shouldn’t have been made.
When deciding if a possession order should be set aside, the court considers if you:
- acted quickly after finding out about the possession order
- had a good reason for not going to the court hearing
- would have had a reasonable prospect of success if you had gone to the court hearing.
The court usually looks into any other relevant issues and decides if it is fair and just for the order to be cancelled.
If a possession order is set aside then the court may order that the case be heard again.
Changing the terms of a possession order
Possession orders are often suspended on terms that you keep to an agreement, such as repaying rent arrears in weekly amounts.
You can ask the court to change the terms of a suspended possession order in certain circumstances, for example if your finances have changed, making it difficult to repay the amount you originally agreed.
Tell the court if changes in your circumstances have affected your ability to keep to the agreement. The court won’t automatically agree and it is less likely to agree if you haven’t kept to previous agreements.
If an outright possession order has been made on a discretionary ground you can ask the court to change it to a suspended possession order.
Can I change the date of eviction?
If the possession order can’t be set aside, the court may be able to delay the date for eviction. The court can only do this if you have a certain type of tenancy. Get in touch with an adviser for further information.
If you would suffer exceptional hardship if you had to leave the property within 14 days, the court can delay the date for eviction for up to six weeks. Exceptional hardship could occur where there are elderly people or young people in the household, or where a member of the family has a disability or health problems. The court can use this power in all cases requiring a possession order.
Making an application to the court
To make an application to change a possession order you will need to apply to the court that the order was made at.
Use court form N244 to make the application and make sure you send in copies of any supporting evidence.
An adviser or solicitor can help you complete the court papers and prepare a witness statement to provide supporting evidence as to why the order should be changed. Contact Shelter Cymru as soon as you can – call our helpline or find an advice service near you.
Have your notice and court paperwork with you when you speak to an adviser.
We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 0345 075 5005.