What is a suspended possession order?
No evictions by bailiffs will take place until after 31 May 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. Get advice if you've had a letter from the bailiffs with an eviction date.
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.
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: 10 March 2021