Eviction for rent arrears: Council and housing association tenants

How to suspend an eviction warrant

You can ask the court to stop the bailiffs if you have an eviction date. 

There are 2 steps to this process:

  1. Complete Form N244 and return it to the court

  2. Go to a court hearing where the judge makes a decision

It costs £14 to apply unless you qualify for help with court fees.

You cannot use this process if your possession order was made on ground 8.

You can still ask your housing association to cancel the eviction if you can agree a repayment plan for your rent arrears. 

Complete the N244 form

Form N244 is on GOV.UK and you can get it from the court.

You can either:

  • complete it online

  • fill in a paper form

What to write

In the top box in the right hand corner fill in the name of the court, the claim number and the warrant number. You can find these details on the bailiffs' notice of eviction.

Question 1 - Write your full name

Question 2 - Tick defendant

Question 3 - Write 'I ask the court to suspend the warrant for possession due to be executed on [date of eviction]. I can meet my contractual rent payments and offer [insert repayment proposal] each week towards the arrears.'

Question 4 - Tick no

Question 5 - Tick at a hearing

Question 6 - Write 0 hours 10 minutes and tick no

Question 7 - Leave blank

Question 8 - Write district judge

Question 9 - Write claimant

Question 9a - Leave blank

Question 10 - Tick evidence set out in the box below and provide details

Question 11 - Leave blank if you do not have a witness. If you have a witness, only tick this box if they are vulnerable. You have to explain to the court why you think they're vulnerable.

Sign and date the Statement of Truth

Include evidence

Include evidence of your income, spending and other debts.

You must show that you can:

  • pay both your full rent

  • repay your arrears in instalments over time

Explain:

  • why you have rent arrears  

  • what you've done to deal with the arrears 

  • why you broke the terms of an agreed repayment plan or a suspended order

For example, if you broke the order because of a sudden drop in wages or benefits.

You can continue on a separate piece of paper if you run out of space on the form. Keep it brief and factual. Use short sentences and number the paragraphs.

Return the form to the court

It's best to return the form at least 3 days before the eviction date. 

Tell your council or housing association that you've applied to suspend the warrant.

The court will give you an appointment for an application hearing. The hearing could be on the same day if the bailiffs are due in the next few days. 

You can ask the court to suspend a warrant on the day of the eviction but it's very risky to leave it this late.

Phone the bailiffs first thing and tell them you've applied. If you do not do this, the eviction could happen while you're at court.

Go to the court hearing

The hearing usually takes about 10 minutes.

You should go in person unless everyone has agreed to a remote hearing by phone or video.

At the hearing, the judge will either:

  • suspend the warrant and tell you how much to pay to clear the arrears over time

  • decide that the eviction should go ahead

The eviction will go ahead if you do not go to the hearing.

What to take to the hearing

Take any evidence that shows you can pay your full rent and reduce your arrears.

For example:

  • letters about benefits

  • a job offer from an employer

  • bank statements showing recent payments  

You have to make regular payments that you can afford.

The court can tell you to pay as little as £4.25 a week if you get benefits or have a very low income.

If the court suspends the warrant 

The eviction is cancelled and you can stay in your home.

You must pay your rent and reduce your arrears on the terms set by the court.

If you break the terms, your council or housing association can apply for bailiffs again.

You can ask a court to suspend a warrant more than once.

But the more times you break the terms of a warrant, the less likely it is that a judge will accept that it's reasonable for you to stay in your home.

Last updated: 11 December 2023

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