What happens at a possession hearing

What is a possession hearing?

A possession hearing is part of the eviction process.

A judge decides if an eviction can go ahead. Sometimes they can let you stay in your home.

There may not be a possession hearing with a section 21 eviction.

When your possession hearing will take place

You get a 'notice of possession hearing' from the court with the time and date.

Who should attend the hearing

You should always attend the hearing, or let the court know if there's a very good reason why you can't. For example, sudden and serious ill health.

You can bring a legal representative, such as an adviser or solicitor with you.

Arriving at court for a hearing

Possession hearings usually take place at your local county court.

Check the exact location on your possession hearing notice. Different buildings are being used by some courts as a coronavirus safety measure

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

GOV.Uk has the latest updates on attend a hearing.

Help from the court duty scheme

The duty adviser can give you free legal advice and speak to the judge for you.

The notice of possession hearing sets out how to contact them.

They might be there in person or available by phone or videocall.

What to bring

Take the bundle of documents you received before the review to the hearing.

If you received these by email, it's a good idea to email them to your adviser.

Bring any letters or other evidence that show you can make payments. For example:

  • letters about housing benefit

  • information on your phone about universal credit

  • payslips or a letter to say you’re starting a new job

Bring the notice and any other letters from your landlord, council or housing association.

What happens during the hearing

The hearing will only last about 15 minutes.

A judge will look at the evidence from your landlord, council or housing association, and from you before making a decision.

Your landlord's representative will speak first. Then you or your adviser can respond.

You should call the judge ‘sir’ or ‘madam’. Be polite and try not to interrupt. Keep your phone on silent.

What the court can decide

This can depend on the type of tenancy you have, and the eviction process used by your landlord.

With a section 21 eviction, the judge must:

  • make an outright possession order - if your notice is valid

  • dismiss the case - if your notice is not valid

Find out more about what the court can decide if you're a:

Last updated: 15 December 2021

If you need to talk to someone, we'll do our best to help

Get help