In all cases it is important that you complete and return the Defence form to the court.
You may be asked to pay part of your landlord’s legal costs if you don’t have a good reason for not returning the form in time. Giving information about your circumstances may help the court decide whether or not to make a possession order.
Explain your situation as fully as you can and provide evidence if possible. For example :
- explain why you have fallen behind with your rent (perhaps your housing benefit or universal credit has been delayed, or you have lost your job)
- if you disagree with any information your landlord has given about why you are being evicted, explain why
- you can ask the court to allow you more time to find somewhere else to live. You might want to do this if you have health problems or have young children and may not be able to find a place quickly.
The court will ask you to reply within 14 days.
If you don’t reply within 14 days you can usually still explain your situation to the court at the hearing. The only exception to this is if you are an assured shorthold tenant and your landlord is using the Accelerated Possession procedure. In this situation a hearing won’t automatically be arranged unless you return the Defence form (N11B Wales) within 14 days explaining why you disagree with your landlord’s claim (see above).
Get advice quickly if you have received papers from the court and you want advice about whether you have a defence.