Council and housing association tenants: eviction for rent arrears
How to suspend an eviction warrant
No evictions by bailiffs will take place until after 21 February except in very limited circumstances.
Evictions may still go ahead if the landlord has proved either:
at least 6 months' rent arrears
The courts will continue to process cases during lockdown. You still need to read any letters from the court and attend the hearing if there is one.
Ask the court to stop the bailiffs
You can ask the court to stop the bailiffs if you have an eviction date.
There are 2 steps to this process:
Complete Form N244 and return it to the court
Attend a short hearing where the judge makes a decision
It costs £14 to apply unless you qualify for help with court fees.
Complete the N244 form
Form N244 is available on GOV.UK and from the court.
You can either:
complete it online and print it out
fill in a paper form at the court
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
Sign and date the Statement of Truth
You must be able to show that you will pay your full rent and pay off the arrears in instalments. Include evidence of your income, spending and other debts.
why you have rent arrears
what you've done to sort this out
reasons why you broke the terms of an agreed repayment plan or suspended order - for example, an unexpected underpayment of benefits or wages
The evidence box on the form is very small. You can continue on a separate piece of paper. Keep it brief and factual. Use short sentences and numbered 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 especially if the bailiffs are due in the next few days.
It's possible to apply to suspend a warrant even 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 don't, the eviction could happen while you're at court.
Attend the application hearing
The hearing usually lasts about 10 minutes.
You should attend in person unless everyone has agreed to a remote hearing by phone or video.
If you don't attend, your application will be dismissed and the eviction can go ahead.
At the hearing, the judge will either:
suspend the warrant on affordable repayment terms
decide that the eviction should go ahead
What to take to the hearing
Take any evidence that shows you can pay your full rent and reduce your arrears.
letters about benefits
a job offer from an employer
bank statements showing recent payments
You're expected to pay a reasonable regular payment that you can afford. The court can set arrears repayments as low as £3.70 a week if you're not working or on a very low income.
If the court suspends the warrant
The eviction will be 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 of a suspended warrant at a later date, your council or housing association can ask the bailiffs to evict you.
It's possible to 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: 7 January 2021