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What orders can be made?

There are a number of orders the court can make at a possession hearing.

If you do not understand the order that has been made make sure you ask the judge to explain it.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

The way the courts deal with possession cases changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

There are some new stages in the possession process. These include:

Reactivation Notices: if your landlord started court proceedings before 3 August 2020 it is likely that it was put on hold for a time. Your landlord must send a Reactivation Notice to you and the court to re-start the case. In the notice they must give information to the court about the impact coronavirus has had on you and your family. Make sure you tell your landlord straight away if you are struggling because of coronavirus, for example, if your income has reduced and you cannot pay your rent. It is best to do this in an email. Your landlord will then have to pass this information on to the court in any Reactivation Notice.

Review Date: in most cases the court will set a Review Date for the judge to review the papers and see if an agreement can be reached before a court hearing takes place. You don’t need to go to court on the Review Date but you will be told when it is so that you can try and make an agreement if possible.

Courts remain open but some hearings might be dealt with by telephone or a video link. Make sure you contact the court in advance of any court hearing if you are worried about going to the court because of coronavirus.

Court duty advisers are available to help you on any Review Date or at any possession hearing. Details of how to contact an adviser should be sent to you with the papers from the court.

Bailiff Evictions: bailiffs in Wales were banned from carrying out evictions during the pandemic. This ban ends on the 30 June 2021. From that date bailiffs will be able to evict you from your home regardless of the reason for eviction.

If you have received possession papers or a notice of eviction from the county court use our guide to find out what will happen next.

Always get advice if possession proceedings have started against you. It might not be too late to stop or delay any eviction.

Outright possession order

If an outright possession order is granted you have to leave the accommodation by the date given in the order.

If you have an assured shorthold tenancy the date is usually 14 days after the date of the court hearing. However, if you are in an exceptionally difficult situation (such as if you are ill or have very young children) you may be able to convince the judge to delay this for up to 6 weeks. If you want to do this you should tell the judge about it at the hearing.

If you have a secure tenancy with the council or an assured tenancy with a housing association, the possession date is usually 28 days after the date of the hearing.

If you have not left once the date given in the possession order has passed your landlord can only evict you by applying to the court for bailiffs to remove you from the property and change the locks. It usually takes two to four weeks before the bailiffs do this, but you may only get a few days’ notice.

Suspended possession order

A suspended possession order means that you can stay in your home as long as you keep to certain conditions. These conditions will be explained on the court order. For example, you may be ordered to:

  • pay off rent arrears at a certain amount each week, or
  • not cause further disturbance to your neighbours.

If you don’t stick to all of the conditions your landlord can apply to the court for the bailiffs to evict you. This could happen very quickly so it is important that you get advice or contact your landlord immediately if you think you cannot keep to the conditions.

Adjourning the case

The judge may decide that the case cannot be decided yet and that the hearing should be delayed. This is called ‘adjourning the case’. It can be done either indefinitely or for a fixed period of time.

This might happen if:

  • your landlord says you have a certain type of tenancy but you disagree
  • the judge gives you more time to sort out a housing benefit or universal credit claim
  • the judge needs more evidence before making a decision.

If the case is adjourned you may be given a date for another court hearing. Alternatively your landlord may be told to reapply to the court after a fixed period of time or if the circumstances of the case change. In the meantime you have the right to remain in your home. If you are behind with the rent you may have to pay a certain amount each week as a condition of the case being adjourned.

Dismissing the case

The judge may decide that your case should be dismissed because there is no reason why you should be evicted.

This might happen if:

  • your landlord does not have the right to apply for possession
  • your landlord has not followed the correct procedure for bringing the case to court.

If the case is dismissed you have the right to remain in your home with the same conditions as before.

What is a money judgment?

A money judgment is an order that says that you have to pay the rent arrears, regardless of whether you are evicted. This will affect your credit rating, which could make it difficult to find a new home.

Will I have to pay court costs?

If a possession order is made or if you leave the property after your landlord starts the court case but before the order is made, you may be ordered to pay your landlord’s legal costs. Contact an adviser if you are in this situation.

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 08000 495 495.

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This page was last updated on: June 23, 2021

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.

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