Defending possession proceedings

The following information is set as a guide for your information. As circumstances may vary it is always best to seek advice from appropriate services.  

Information for tenants

If you are a tenant you may be able to delay possession proceedings if, for example: 

1: The court paperwork produced by the landlord is defective, for instance:

  • The landlord has served the tenant with a possession notice which is not correct either because the information on it is incorrect or the wrong form has been used or the notice has a ground for possession written on it and the landlord relies on a different ground at court. However, since the Housing Act 1996 came into force courts now have a "discretion" to allow possession, even if the landlord did not serve a proper notice of possession. So this argument may not always help the tenant.
  • The landlord started court proceedings earlier than they were allowed to by law.
  • The tenant did not receive any notice of possession from the landlord before they started proceedings. Remember the court can decide to make a possession order even if the landlord did not serve the tenant with a notice beforehand. The tenant may still however be able to argue that it would be unfair for him to be evicted without notice.


2: Where the landlord is seeking arrears of rent the tenant may be able to avoid paying some or all of this if the landlord owes the tenant money. For example, the tenant has overpaid the rent previously and not received a refund. The tenant can counter-sue the landlord (this is called a Counterclaim). If the tenant wins their claim will be "set-off" against what they owe the landlord. This will not however save the tenant from a possession order.

3: The landlord has not proved the ground they are relying on.

4: A condition has not been satisfied. For example, the landlord has not shown it is reasonable for the court to make a possession order in the case of grounds 9-17.

5: The tenant should be given another chance and the court proceedings should be put back to allow the tenant to comply with a part of their tenancy agreement that has been breached. For example, failure to pay rent. Or that the possession order should be "suspended" so that it only comes into effect if the tenant breaks a stated promise or agreement with their landlord.

If you have a mortgage

If you have not already done so you should contact your lender as soon as possible. Your lender may not be fully aware of the reasons why you are having difficulty paying your mortgage and you may be able to come to an agreement that helps you remain in your home.

You can contact us to discuss your situation. The Housing Options Team can provide advice and assistance to homeowners as well as tenants on housing related issues and may be able to help you. Daventry District Council operates a duty drop in service from Monday to Friday from 9am until 4pm. Alternatively other organisations that may be of help are:


If your lender is taking action, it is not to late to seek advice, and therefore should you attend court you might be able to speak to an adviser at the court before your hearing even if you have not sought advice at an earlier stage (however we would strongly advice on seeking advice as soon as possible). You should tell the court usher that you wish to speak to a duty adviser before your hearing.