Defending Possession Proceedings - how to prevent a landlord taking their property back

You may be able to delay possession proceedings if for example:

1. The court paperwork produced by your landlord is defective.

a) Your landlord has served you with a possession notice which is not correct either because the information on it is incorrect or the wrong form has been used or the notice has a ground for possession written on it and your landlord relies on a different ground at court.

However, since the Housing Act 1996 came into force courts now have a "discretion" to allow possession, even if your landlord did not serve a proper notice of possession. So this argument may not help you.

b) Your landlord started court proceedings earlier than they were allowed to by law.

c) You did not receive any notice of possession from your landlord before they started proceedings. Remember the court can decide to make a possession order even if your landlord did not serve you with a notice beforehand. You may still however be able to argue that it would be unfair for you to be evicted without notice.

2. Where your landlord is seeking arrears of rent you may be able to avoid paying some or all of this if your landlord owes you money. For example, you have overpaid your rent previously and not received a refund. You can counter-sue your landlord, (this is called a Counterclaim). If you win, your claim will be "set-off" against what you owe your landlord. This will not however save you from a possession order.

Also if your landlord demands rent he / she must provide you with a notice giving details of his name and address where you can serve notices on him. This address must be in England or Wales.

If the landlord fails to do this the rent does not become due until he / she provides those details.

3. Your landlord has not proved the ground they are relying on.

4. A condition has not been satisfied. For example, your landlord has not shown there is reasonable alternative accommodation available for you in the case of grounds 9-16. Or your landlord has not shown it is reasonable for the court to make a possession order in the case of grounds 1-8 and 12-16.

5. You should be given another chance and the court proceedings should be put back to allow you to comply with a part of your tenancy agreement that has been breached. For example, failure to pay rent. Or that the possession order should be "suspended" so that it only comes into effect if you break a stated promise or agreement with your landlord.

Eviction by Bailiffs - the process and how to stop it

Public Housing