What is a suspended possession order?

Coronavirus update

The courts are dealing with evictions again.

Your landlord must still apply for an order to evict you. There is a backlog of cases and the eviction process takes time.

When you will have a suspended possession order

You will have a suspended possession order if there's been an eviction hearing and the judge decided that you can stay in your home if you keep to certain conditions.

For example:

  • paying your normal rent plus a set amount towards rent arrears
  • stopping any antisocial behaviour

You might not get a copy of the order until a few weeks after the court hearing, so note down the conditions on the day.

Make sure you understand the terms

Your court order will say what conditions you need to keep to. You should do exactly what the order says.

For example, if you have rent arrears you should pay the exact amount at the times it says.

You will be breaking the terms of the order if you pay late or miss a payment. You will also break the terms if you pay extra one week and skip the next week's payment.

What happens if you break the terms

Your landlord can apply to court for a bailiffs' warrant.

The bailiffs will send you a notice with a date for the eviction to take place.

If you can still afford your normal rent plus an amount towards arrears, you can ask the court to suspend the warrant.

What to do if the payments are unaffordable

Speak to your council or housing association if you're worried you won't be able to afford the payments.

You can apply to change the terms of your suspended possession order so repayments are lower. This is called 'varying' the terms of the order.

You can use court form N244 to ask to vary the terms of the order. You'll need to include details of your income and expenditure to prove what you can afford to repay each week.

If you repay all your arrears

Check your suspended possession order to see if it says what happens once all the arrears have been paid off.

Your council or housing association could apply straight for a bailiffs' warrant if you fall into arrears again unless either:

  • the order states that it can't be enforced once the arrears are cleared
  • you apply to discharge it

You can apply to court to discharge the order on court form N244. You'll need evidence that you've paid off the arrears.


Last updated 19 June 2020 | © Shelter

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

Get help

Email a link to this article

Thank you - your message has been sent.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.

Was this advice helpful?

Thank you - your feedback has been submitted to the team.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.