You can get the terms of an order changed or get it suspended in some cases.
How to get it changed
A possession order is made by a court at a hearing.
To get a possession order changed you need to:
- check if it was made on a discretionary ground
- have a reason to get it changed
- fill in court form N244
- attend another hearing
Check it was made on a discretionary ground
Check your order to find what ground was used.
A ground is the legal reason that the landlord wants to evict you.
A discretionary ground means the court decides if it’s reasonable to evict you if the landlord proves the ground.
Your order will be on a discretionary ground unless your landlord has used the mandatory antisocial behaviour ground.
The mandatory antisocial behaviour ground can only be used if you or someone who lives with you or visits your home has been convicted of a criminal offence in the area.
Assured and assured shorthold tenants
Grounds 9 – 17 are discretionary.
The most common discretionary grounds are:
- Ground 10 – some rent arrears
- Ground 11 – a history of late rent payments
- Ground 12 – breaking a term of your tenancy
- Ground 14 – nuisance and annoyance
Section 21 possession orders are not made on grounds. You can't ask the court to change a possession order made under section 21.
Make sure you have a reason
There will be another hearing if you apply to change a possession order.
You must provide new information or evidence that the court hasn't already considered.
You can ask the court to:
- change an outright order to a suspended order
- change the terms of a suspended order
Changing an outright order to a suspended order
You need to show the court that it's not reasonable to evict you.
The court made an outright order on Ground 10 because you had rent arrears but didn't attend the possession hearing.
You’re now getting universal credit. You can pay your rent and make regular monthly payments towards your arrears.
You can ask the court to stop the eviction and suspend the order on affordable repayment terms.
Changing the terms of a suspended order
You may need to do this if you can't stick to the terms of the order because your financial situation has changed.
The suspended order says you have to pay your rent + £50 a month towards the arrears. You lose your job and can’t afford the repayments.
You claim universal credit. It covers your rent and you can offer £20 a month towards the arrears.
You can ask the court to change the terms of the order so your arrears repayments are affordable.
Use court form N244
Court form N244 is available on GOV.UK.
Read the guidance notes first.
Filling in the form
At question 3 you should state what you are asking the court to do and why.
For example: 'I ask the court to vary the possession order made on [date order made]. I can meet my contractual rent payment and offer [insert repayment proposal] each month towards the arrears.'
If your landlord has applied for a bailiff's warrant, you must ask the court for this to be suspended too. You can do this on the same form.
At question 10 you should tick evidence set out in the box below and provide details. You can continue on a separate piece of paper but be brief and factual.
If you've broken the terms of an order it's important to explain why this happened and how you would stop it happening again.
You may need to attach other information for the court to consider. For example, proof of benefits or a financial statement.
You may be able to get help from a housing adviser to complete the form.
Returning the form
You have to pay £50. You can get help with court fees if you receive certain benefits or have a low income.
You must act quickly especially if you're trying to change an outright order or have broken the terms of a suspended order.
Your landlord may already have applied for a bailiff's eviction warrant.
It's best to return the form to the court in person. If an eviction is due to take place imminently the court can sometimes schedule a hearing on the same day.
Attend the hearing
The court will schedule a short hearing.
A judge will decide if the order should be suspended on the terms you have proposed on the N244.
If the judge agrees to suspend the order, you can stay in your home as long as you stick to the terms of the order.
If you break the terms of the order, your landlord can ask bailiffs to evict you.
You can ask a court to change an order or suspend a bailiff's warrant more than once. But the more times you have to go back to court, the less likely a judge is to accept that it's reasonable for you to stay in your home.
Last updated 18 December 2019 | © Shelter
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