Evicting tenants (England and Wales)

5. Possession hearings and orders

The judge could decide to make an order, or that a hearing is needed.

Hearings

At the hearing they might:

  • dismiss the court case - no order will be made and the hearing will end
  • adjourn the hearing - it will be moved to a later date (this happens if a judge believes a decision can’t be made on the day)
  • make an ‘order’ - a judge’s legal decision on what should happen

The judge will dismiss the case if there’s no reason your tenants should be evicted. This might also happen if:

  • you haven’t followed the correct procedure
  • you or your representative don’t attend the hearing
  • your tenants have paid any rent that was owed

Your tenants can stay in your property if the judge dismisses the case. You must restart the court process from the beginning if you still want to evict them.

Orders

The judge can make different kinds of orders.

Order for possession (or ‘outright possession order’)

This means your tenants must leave your property before the date given in the order.

The date will be either 14 or 28 days after the court hearing.

You can ask the court to evict them with a ‘warrant for possession’ if your tenants don’t leave your property by the date given. If the court gives a warrant, your tenants will be sent an eviction notice with a date by when they must leave your property.

Suspended order for possession

This means your tenants can stay in your property as long as they make the payments, or obey the conditions, set out in the order. You can ask the court to evict them if they don’t make the payments.

Money order

This means your tenants must pay you a specified amount. The courts could take action if they don’t make the payments, including:

  • deducting money from the tenants’ wages or bank accounts
  • sending bailiffs to take away things they own

You can go to court again and ask for a possession order if your tenants get into rent arrears after a money order is made.

Possession orders with a money judgment

A judge can add a money judgment to any of the possession orders. This means your tenants owe a specific amount of money, usually made up of:

  • their rent arrears
  • court fees
  • your legal costs

The money judgment will apply if they don’t pay the amount set out in the suspended possession order that’s linked to the judgment. If they don’t pay, you can ask the court to carry out the instructions in the order and the judgment.

The money judgment won’t apply if your tenants pay their arrears and the amount set out in a suspended possession order.

Appealing against the decision

You can only appeal if you can show the judge made mistakes in the original possession hearing. You’ll need to ask the judge for permission to appeal at the end of that hearing.

If you get permission to appeal, you’ll have to apply for an appeal hearing as soon as possible afterwards. You’ll have to pay a court fee, unless you qualify for financial help.

You’ll need to get legal advice.