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Hey, you asked 2


More brief but hopefully helpful replies to the civil litigation and housing questions that brought searchers to Nearly Legal. As ever, nothing of what follows should be taken as legal advice and no action should be taken without obtaining full legal advice.

what does mandatory possession mean

It means that if the ground is successfully made out, the court has no option but to grant an outright possession order, no matter what the circumstances.

possible defences for a tenant of rent arrears the mandatory ground housing law

Presumably ground 8. There aren’t many defences. The list is:

  • technical defences (Notice not served or technically inadequate, claim doesn’t contain required details etc.), no guarantee of success at all with this one;
  • defences that affect the level of rent arrears, e.g. there may be a dispute as to the correct level of arrears;
  • most useful is a counterclaim for disrepair, as it will affect the level of arrears outstanding by the end of the hearing of the claim.
  • Rarely, and depending on the conduct of the landlord, the claim may be defended as oppressive, but this would require clear evidence that the landlord had, for example, significantly misled the tenant on the claim and its consequences.
  • If the reason for the rent arrears is related to a disability there may be a ‘defence’ under the Disability Discrimination Act, but this is very complex and the possibility of the defence may change at any moment over the next couple of months. This one seriously needs qualified advice and representation.

All these defences are potentially complex and getting advice and representation is a very good idea.

disrepair and accelerated route for possession

Then there is a counterclaim for disrepair. It won’t stop the landlord getting possession, although it will likely slow the process up more than somewhat, but could lead to an award of damages.

renting can we break a shorthold contract

Without owing the rent on the remainder of the tenancy (or at least until the property is re-let) you mean? The answer is no, not if you just want to go. There may be a break clause in the tenancy agreement (e.g. after 6 months on a 12 month contract) or there may not be. It may be possible to leave if there is something catastrophically wrong, but that needs detailed advice.

assured tenancy assignment

It may be possible, if it is not expressly ruled out in the tenancy agreement. However, even then, the landlord has to give permission. Unless the tenancy agreement expressly says so, there is no presumption that the permission will not be unreasonably withheld, meaning the landlord can refuse permission no matter how reasonable the request is.

can i stay in rented property once my notice requiring possesion has expired

Yes. Assuming you don’t fall under one of the exceptions, your landlord has to make a claim for possession, get a possession order from the court and then a warrant of possession. If your landlord tries to evict you without a court order and warrant, it is very likely to be an illegal eviction.

are there legal grounds for withholding rent with a secure tenancy?

With one very complicated exception to do with having to carry out repairs that are the landlord’s responsibility, no. I’ll say it again, you cannot and should not withhold rent. It puts you at risk of a claim for possession and will not resolve whatever the problem is. If the problem is something like undone repairs, you have another path in a claim for disrepair.

what rights do tolerated tresspassers have

The ability to apply to the court to stay or suspend an eviction and, if the arrears haven’t been paid off, the right to apply to the court to revive the tenancy. That is about it. No Right to Buy, no repairing duty on the landlord, no transfer, no succession or assignment rights. A tolerated trespasser can still bring a prosecution against the landlord under the Environmental Protection Act for nuisance, though.

tenants rights bed bugs wandsworth housing authority

Ouch. Unless it can be shown that the infestation came from an area that is under your landlord’s control (communal stairs, vents etc., but not gardens or other flats) you are pretty much on your own. If it did come from the communal area, it could be a nuisance prosecution, but this would need expert evidence.

legal aid for housing law

Yes, but get it while it lasts.

And lastly and very worryingly

trainee solicitor forging signature

The trainee has forged, or someone has forged the trainee’s signature?. Presuming the former, the trainee is in a whole heap of trouble and has quite possibly ended their career. If this is from a trainee thinking about forging a signature, it would be a cretinously stupid thing to do and just deeply, fundamentally wrong.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


  1. housinganger

    One wonders with the name ‘Nearly Legal’ what other er ‘non housing’ related searches you could pop up in!

  2. Nearly Legal

    Oh I do, I do, and did more so at the beginning of the blog. Strangely though, most of the searches were for ‘naked mature…’ which was the opposite end to what I expected. Still chose a blog name in haste, repent at leisure.

    which also explains my pride at being the fifth highest google hit for ‘sally field naked’. Sadly, I have now been relegated to page 2. (In fact, try any of the ‘obvious filler’ posts for the odder flotsam heading this way).


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