What orders can be made?
- There are a number of orders the court can make at a possession hearing
- A judge can decide if it is reasonable to make a possession order, but this can depend on the type of contract you hold and the grounds for possession
- If you do not understand the order that has been made make sure you ask the judge to explain it.
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 standard occupation contract 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 occupation contract 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.
If you are a sub-contract holder you can find out more here.
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 contract 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.
If you have received a court order asking you to leave your property, get help immediately.