Residential Possession Proceedings

Facing possession proceedings can be very daunting. Tenants can often feel overwhelmed by learning that their landlord is seeking to evict them. Every case is different and the law in this area can be complex and technical.

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  • “The practice is ‘undoubtedly one of the best in the business‘ and has a strong reputation for complex disrepair cases and possession claims against local authorities and housing associations.”

  • “Really successful and effective, capable of handling complex cases and responding to urgent situations and vulnerable clients.”

Our specialist housing lawyers are experienced in defending possession proceedings for a very wide range of clients who are tenants of local authorities, housing associations, other social landlords, and private landlords. Possession proceedings can arise for a number of reasons including allegations of rent arrears, anti-social behaviour or other breaches of tenancy.

Private landlords are also able in some circumstances to seek possession of a property on a “no-fault” basis, but this depends on their following a proper process; our team is experienced in recognising failures by landlords in these situations which can give rise to a defence.

How our lawyers can help

Our team is able to respond quickly and creatively when faced with possession proceedings, looking not only at the immediate threat of eviction but also at underlying issues including disrepair, difficulties with benefits and whether accommodation is suitable and affordable in the long term.

Where appropriate we will advise you on the possibility of bringing counterclaims for issues including disrepair and for breaches of deposit protection legislation.

We can also assist with mortgage possession proceedings and, where possible, will try to assist in negotiating an amicable settlement with your mortgage company.

While we would encourage you to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity when faced with possession proceedings, we can also assist in some circumstances in seeking to suspend a warrant of possession, following the court making an order for possession. If you receive notice that bailiffs are to attend your property to evict you, you should seek advice as soon as possible as it can be possible at this stage to suspend the eviction on terms, usually involving a payment plan.

What do I need to do?

If you are concerned that your landlord is planning to attempt to recover possession of your home you should seek legal advice at an early stage.

If you are experiencing problems with rent arrears as a result of your benefits stopping you should ensure that you request a review or an appeal of the decision by the benefit authority within the relevant time limit. For more information see our welfare benefits page.

To discuss your personal situation and how we can help you, complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you.

  • "The team explains things clearly, is very responsive and goes the extra step to help those who need it."

    Chambers UK 2023

  • "I was impressed and grateful from the very beginning - the team are extremely detailed, very thorough, helpful and reassuring at the same time. I would absolutely recommend Osbornes Law."

    Chambers UK 2023

  • "Osbornes Law is efficient and focused, and clearly prioritises the client's interests."

    Chambers UK 2023

  • ‘Osbornes are very approachable; in a time where many firms are unwilling to take on cases that do not look promising, they are prepared to look at difficult situations and find a way to assist their clients.

    Legal 500 2023

  • "Osbornes is one of the firms that I consistently recommend. Excellent service, and thorough and knowledgable lawyers."

    Legal 500 2023

  • ‘From the very first moment, I was aware and grateful to have been put in touch with Osbornes. The expertise, advice, leaving no stone unturned right from the first minute until the very last, I would most certainly recommend every single time.’

    Legal 500 2023

  • "The associates have a thorough knowledge of the area of law, communicate effectively and are incredibly easy to work with."

    Legal 500 2023

  • "They are a firm that likes a challenge and are prepared to do the groundwork to develop cases, even if it means much preparation without remuneration."

    Legal 500 2023

  • "It is clear the firm put the interests of the client first at all times."

    Legal 500 2023

  • "There’s a real sense of team ethic. It’s clear that internal communication and case recording are strong because if a solicitor handling a case is away the person covering is fully up to speed, has the necessary documents available to them and nothing falls through the cracks."

    Legal 500 2023

  • "If a short deadline comes up on an urgent case, solicitors are active in collaborating to ensure it can be met."

    Legal 500 2023

  • "The practice is ‘undoubtedly one of the best in the business‘ and has a strong reputation for complex disrepair cases and possession claims against local authorities and housing associations."

    Legal 500 2023

  • "Osbornes are an exceptional team. They have a wealth of housing experience and knowledge that is ‘top notch’. Clients are safe in their hands. As colleagues, they have a fantastic working relationship with each other and, feeding off of each other’s expert knowledge, their solicitors work to ensure that no stone is unturned."

    Legal 500 2021

  • "The team at Osbornes is inspired by its leader Will Ford, a truly first-rate, modern lawyer’s lawyer. The team have blossomed under his Will and are now packed with conscientious, dedicated and excellent lawyers who always give their clients 100%."

    Legal 500 2021

  • "Alex McMahon – thorough and committed. Very easy to work with."

    Legal 500 2021

  • "A committed and well-organised team with a good knowledge of the law and who work hard to secure a good outcome for their clients"

  • "Osbornes has an impressive social housing team and the quality of their work that I have seen is very high. Will Ford is a very well-regarded figure in the housing law world and leads a team of high quality and committed lawyers."

    Legal 500 2021

  • "Osbornes provide an incredibly high-quality service to their clients. The firm treats its legal aid clients with the same respect and commitment as if they were important private clients, which is rare and admirable. Their housing solicitors are also highly skilled and knowledgable."

    Legal 500 2021

  • "This is an outstanding firm with great attention to detail. They work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for their clients. They have excellent client care skills and are extremely organised."

    Chambers UK 2021

  • "They are at the forefront of legal developments in the field of social housing and community care. They are committed to using their multidisciplinary expertise to achieve the best possible outcomes for clients."

    Chambers & Partners Directory 2020, Social Welfare

  • "This a great team - the quality of their work is amazing and they are very professional"

    Chambers & Partners Directory 2020, Social Welfare

  • "An exceptional outfit. They take on difficult cases, fight hard and win."

    Chambers UK

  • "Osbornes team is noted for cross-practice expertise in areas such as housing and community care, which it brings to bear in disrepair, possession and homelessness cases involving vulnerable adults, individuals with language difficulties, the elderly and those with no recourse to public funds."

    The Legal 500

  • The social housing team is friendly, approachable and genuinely care about its clients.

    Chambers UK

  • A broad knowledge places the social housing department one step ahead of others when it comes to community care knowledge.

    Chambers UK

  • The social housing department always go the extra mile.

    Chambers UK

  • The social housing team has a strong track record in representing tenants in claims against local authorities and housing associations, with particular expertise in complex disrepair and possession cases.

    Legal 500

  • Osbornes is commended for its 'rare level of commitment'.

    Legal 500

Speak to the Housing team today

For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811

Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you






    Possession Proceedings FAQs

    Is legal aid available for defending possession claims?

    Yes, this is an area for which legal aid is available and Osbornes Law have a legal aid contract in Housing law.

    When should I seek legal advice regarding possession proceedings?

    If we are to assist you under our Housing legal aid contract the legal aid rules provide that we are not able to provide assistance until you have been served with a notice by your landlord informing you that the landlord wishes to recover possession.

    If I have a private sector tenancy is there anything I can do if my landlord wants to evict me on “no fault” grounds?

    Whilst landlords under assured shorthold tenancies can recover possession on “no fault” grounds under s21 of the Housing Act 1988, there are a range of potential defences to such claims based on whether the landlord has complied with certain duties. For example, a landlord can be prevented from relying on a s21 Notice if they have failed to comply with relevant rules regarding the protection of tenancy deposits.

    What happens at the first hearing at Court?

    Once a claim is issued the Court will list a hearing. At that hearing the court must decide whether the claim for possession is ‘genuinely disputed on grounds which appear to be substantial’. If the claim contested, the court is likely to make case management directions, including a direction for a defence to be filed and served, if this has not already happened. However, if the court is able to decide the case on the evidence before it the Court can do so at the first hearing.

    Do I have more rights if my landlord is a local authority or housing association?

    If you have a secure tenancy with a local authority, or an assured tenancy with a housing association, you do have more rights than private sector tenants. You cannot be evicted from these tenancies on a “no fault” basis. It will be necessary for the landlord to prove that a ground of possession is met. Some of those grounds will also require that the Court considers it to be reasonable, in all the circumstances, to make a possession order. Other grounds are known as “mandatory grounds” of possession, which simply require the conditions of the ground to be made out, and do not permit the Court to consider whether or not it would be reasonable to make a possession order.

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