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NHAS help advice agency with successful possession claim defence

Posted on 18/07/22 in Case Study

NHAS help advice agency with successful possession claim defence

Our free advice line gives specialist advice on housing, housing debt, and welfare benefit issues. 

An NHAS adviser recently assisted an advice agency worker whose client was facing the prospect of eviction after being out of the country caring for a sick relative. We explained the process a landlord must follow when seeking possession and tenant defences against possession. The client was successful in her defence.

What was the problem?

An advice agency worker contacted us about their client - a single woman living in a private rented property with an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.

The client contacted the advice agency after being served court papers relating to a possession claim for the property. A Section 21 notice had been serviced eight months prior.

The client had been out of the country caring for a sick relative and returned home facing the prospect of eviction. Paperwork on the possession claim was unclear however some rent arrears were referenced. 

What we did

Our adviser gathered information and discussed the case in detail with the agency. We explained the process for a landlord seeking possession of a property and potential defences to a possession claim, including:

  • the time limits to start possession proceedings, following the issue of a valid Section 21 notice
  • a breach of tenancy deposit protection rules

Advice was given on the accuracy of any claimed rent arrears in case the landlord tried to serve a Section 8 notice when challenged on the validity of the Section 21 notice. 

Our adviser suggested that due to the lack of clarity in the case, it would be beneficial for the client to seek legal representation in court.


The agency contacted us to say their client was successful in her defence of the possession claim. The landlord was ordered to pay costs and carry out outstanding repairs on the property. There were in fact no rent arrears and the client was in credit on her rent account.

The adviser commented:

 “So many thanks for your advice. It helped our client and has been a learning experience for me.”

Further details of the advice provided can be found on the following pages of Shelter Legal:

Possession and eviction