Eviction pending – the need to act quickly
The client lived with her two children in her accommodation she had occupied since 1987. The client started to get rent arrears as a result of housing benefit problems.
Possession proceedings were issued against the client on the basis of rent arrears. a hearing was listed in June 2016 which because of serious personal problems the client failed to attend. The Court therefore issued an Outright Possession Order against the client. She faced eviction as soon as her landlord obtained a baliffs appointment. The client then sought advice from us. We advised the client that she should make an application to set aside the Possession Order as per the guidance given in the Civil Procedure Rules 39.3.
It was extremely important that our client acted quickly after finding out that possession had been given against her. The rules require the person who wants to set aside an Order of the Court to act promptly. She also had to show that there was a good reason for not attending the hearing and that she had a reasonable prospect of success. The application was supported by evidence, in this case a witness statement from the client with relevant exhibits.
We immediately prepared the application to set aside the Possession Order together with a detailed Witness Statement, which was served on the Council. Thereafter, the Council agreed to vary the Outright Possession Order to a Suspended Possession Order. This matter was settled without the need to attend a hearing.
We have done many cases such as this. We have a policy of providing emergency appointments for tenants facing eviction. Good reasons for not attending have included:
- Incorrectly addressed letters from the Court leading to the notice of hearing not being received
- Serious ill health
- Mental health problems
- Being advised not to attend by the landlord
- Being in Hospital
and many others. The key to a successful application is to act quickly, instruct solicitors and provide supporting evidence.