From 20 September 2020, possession proceedings in the County Court are going ahead again. They were previously suspended under special Covid-19 arrangements.
Because there is a big backlog of cases waiting to be heard, the Court has introduced a new system for dealing with hearings.
Review Hearings take place first, to see whether the case should be settled or withdrawn. The judge looks at the papers in the case, and the Defendant (the tenant or mortgagee) has the opportunity to get free, non-means-tested advice from a duty adviser on the telephone without having to attend the Court.
If no agreement is made or if the Defendant does not seek advice at the Review Hearing, a Substantive Hearing is scheduled to take place within 28 days, usually in front the Judge. These hearings are listed for 15 minutes, with a 5-minute interval to allow social distancing and safety arrangement such as cleaning.
If you are facing possession proceedings for any reason, it is very important that you obtain legal advice well in advance. If you are not able to do so, for example by seeking advice from us, do not miss the opportunity to seek legal advice on the Review Hearing day: if you attend the Substantive Hearing without legal assistance there is a greater risk that you will be evicted or that your case will be prejudiced in some other way. There is no guarantee that you will be able to be seen by a duty advisor on the day of the Substantive Hearing.
If you are facing eviction due to rent arrears, please also seek welfare benefits advice if you need support with rent payments. It is important to make sure you get the correct amount of housing benefit or help with rent through Universal Credit is in payment on the date of the hearing.
If you are facing eviction for any other reason (for instance antisocial behaviour, succession rights, or subletting), you should seek advice well in advance before your case is listed for a hearing.
How we can help:
Our housing law advice clinic is open as a telephone service. It takes place fortnightly on Monday evenings. Call us on 020 7538 4909 to see if we can help and make an appointment.
We believe that everyone should have a decent home to live in. So we fight to prevent people from being unfairly evicted and help homeless people win a home. And we help people living in unsafe and unhealthy homes to make their landlords repair them.
We can help with problems like:
- Possession Proceedings in the County Court
- Housing Benefit
- Rent Arrears
- Rehousing and Transfers
We do not provide advice to landlords or help with conveyancing.
We also participate in the Duty Representation Scheme at the Bow County Court.
Contact us by phone or email to see if we can help you and make an appointment.