Defending Possession Claims

If your landlord threatens to evict you, you should know your rights, understand how to avoid eviction and defend your possession claim.

The law provides safeguards to prevent unfair and arbitrary evictions. By understanding your rights, you can take the necessary steps to navigate the eviction process.

You should know when a landlord is entitled to seek possession and when a possession claim is maliciously intended. Landlords may use Section 21 or Section 8 notices as legal grounds for eviction.

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Defending Possession Claims

However, it’s essential to remember that receiving such notices doesn’t mean you have no options. You can challenge the validity of these notices and dispute the eviction with proper legal support.

When defending a possession claim, various possible defences are available to you. These may include factors like the existence of a deposit, the type of tenancy you have (such as a Housing Association tenancy), counterclaims that can help reduce any arrears, or even challenging the reasonableness of the possession order sought by the landlord.

Given the complexity of defending possession claims and the potential consequences, seeking legal assistance is highly recommended.

Here at the London-based Adam Bernard’s law firm, our experienced housing solicitors can provide tailored advice, guide you through the process, and help build a robust defence strategy to protect your rights as a tenant.

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When is a Landlord Entitled to Possession?

To legally evict you using a Section 21 notice, your landlord must follow the proper legal process. It includes providing at least two months’ written notice and using the correct form (Form 6A in England or Form AT6 in Scotland).

The notice must also comply with other legal requirements, such as the deposit protection scheme regulations. If the notice is defective or the landlord fails to follow the correct process, you may have grounds to dispute the eviction.

Landlords typically give two types of notices when seeking eviction of the tenants:

Section 21 Notices: This notice is commonly used by landlords to regain possession at the end of a fixed-term tenancy or during a periodic tenancy. It’s important to note that a Section 21 notice is a “no-fault” eviction, meaning the landlord doesn’t have to provide a specific reason for seeking possession.

Section 8 Notices: A Section 8 notice is used when a landlord seeks possession based on specific grounds, such as rent arrears, breach of the tenancy agreement, or anti-social behaviour. Unlike a Section 21 notice, the landlord must provide a valid reason for seeking possession.

If the landlord can’t fulfil the requirements or the grounds for possession are not substantiated, you may have grounds to challenge the eviction.

It’s important to understand that even if you receive a Section 21 or Section 8 notice, you still have legal options to dispute the eviction. These may include challenging the validity of the notice, demonstrating that the grounds for possession are unfounded, or negotiating with your landlord to find a mutually acceptable solution.

To effectively dispute eviction notices, you must seek legal assistance. Experienced housing solicitors can review your case details, assess the notice’s validity, and guide you through the legal process. They can help you understand your rights, explore potential defences, and present your case effectively if it goes to court.

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How Does the Possession Procedure Work?

As a tenant facing a possession claim, you must understand how the procedure works. This knowledge can empower you to navigate the process effectively and make informed decisions with the guidance of a legal professional. Let’s explore the key aspects of the possession procedure.

  • Grounds for Seeking Possession: Landlords or property owners may seek possession based on specific grounds, such as breach of the tenancy agreement, anti-social behaviour, rent arrears, or expiry of a fixed-term tenancy. Each ground has its own requirements and criteria that must be met.
  • Serving a Notice: Before initiating legal proceedings, your landlord must serve you with a notice. This is typically a Section 21 or Section 8 notice, depending on the circumstances and grounds for possession. The notice should clearly state the reasons for seeking possession and provide you with a reasonable period to respond or rectify the issues, if applicable.
  • Court Proceedings: If you fail to address the issues raised in the notice or dispute the grounds for possession, your landlord may commence court proceedings. This involves submitting a claim to the court and providing evidence to support their case. You can respond to the claim and present your defences as a tenant.
  • Possession Order: If the court finds in favour of your landlord, they may grant a possession order. This order specifies a deadline by which you must vacate the property voluntarily. It’s crucial to adhere to the possession order to avoid further legal complications.
  • Warrant of Eviction: If you fail to comply with the possession order or remain in the property beyond the specified deadline, your landlord may apply for a warrant of eviction. The warrant authorizes bailiffs or enforcement officers to remove you from the property forcibly.
  • Suspension of the Warrant: In certain circumstances, the court may consider suspending the warrant of eviction. This could occur if you demonstrate exceptional circumstances or hardship caused by immediate eviction. The court will assess the situation and decide based on your case’s specific circumstances.

Throughout the possession procedure, seeking legal advice and representation is crucial. A housing solicitor can guide you through the process, help you understand your rights, and present your case effectively.

Possible Defences in Possession Proceedings

If you are facing a possession claim from your landlord, knowing that you have potential defences available to protect your rights and interests is essential. Here are some possible defences you can consider when defending against possession proceedings:

  • Deposit Protection: If you have paid a deposit for your tenancy, your landlord must legally protect it in a government-approved deposit protection scheme. Failure to do so may weaken your landlord’s case for possession. You can check if your deposit has been protected and, if not, raise this as a defence.
  • Housing Association Tenancy: If you have a tenancy with a housing association, you may have additional rights and protections. Housing association tenancies often come with secure or assured tenancy status, which means your landlord must follow specific procedures to seek possession. Understanding and asserting these rights can be crucial in defending against possession claims.
  • Counterclaims for Arrears: If your landlord is seeking possession based on rent arrears, you may have the opportunity to counterclaim. This means you can present evidence to dispute the arrears claimed by your landlord. For example, if you have made payments that were not adequately recorded, or if you can demonstrate that the arrears amount is incorrect, it can significantly impact the landlord’s case.
  • Unreasonable Possession Order: If your landlord has obtained a possession order, you may challenge its validity as unreasonable or disproportionate. This can be particularly relevant if you show that you have taken steps to remedy any issues or if eviction would cause exceptional hardship to you or your dependents. Presenting a strong case for an unreasonable possession order could result in the court reconsidering its decision.

It’s important to note that these defences can vary from case to case, depending on the unique circumstances of your case. It is crucial to seek help and advice from a housing solicitor who can assess the details of your situation and provide tailored guidance.

Why Hire Our Housing Solicitors?

When facing a possession claim from your landlord, you must have the support and expertise of experienced housing solicitors who can effectively defend your rights and interests.

Here at the London-based Adam Bernard’s law firm, we have experienced housing solicitors who can help defend your possession claim. Here’s why you should choose our housing lawyers:

  • Expertise in Housing Law: Our solicitors are experienced in housing law and possess in-depth knowledge of the legal intricacies surrounding possession claims. They are well-versed in the relevant legislation and case precedents, enabling them to provide accurate advice and build a strong defence tailored to your specific circumstances.
  • Strong Advocacy and Representation: Our solicitors will act as your dedicated advocates throughout the entire legal process. They will analyze your case, gather evidence, and present a robust defence on your behalf. With their expertise in negotiation and litigation, they seek to garner the best possible outcome, whether contesting the validity of the possession notice, presenting strong defences, or negotiating an alternative resolution.

By hiring our housing solicitors, you gain a valuable ally who will protect your rights, guide you through complex legal procedures, and fight for your best interests. Their comprehensive understanding of housing law and their ability to provide strategic advice and representation will give you the confidence and support you need to navigate the possession claim process effectively.

Get in touch with our expert Defending Possession Claims Solicitors today.

Why Adam Bernard Solicitors?

  • We offer competitive fees and are willing to set up a payment structure to suit your needs.
  • Our team have years of experience in navigating this market and protecting the rights of our clients regarding such issues.
  • We have ensured that numerous landlords are able to resolve their matters and attain the results that they desire. Please refer to our client testimonies in confirmation of the same.

Get in touch with our expert Defending Possession Claims Solicitors today.