When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Decisions that the court can make

Different things can happen if you have to go to court for a possession hearing. 

The judge can

  • make an order
  • schedule another hearing, or
  • dismiss the case.

Possession orders

The judge can make a possession order. This ends your right to live in your home. 

You don't have to move out straight away. You might be able to keep living in your home for a long time. It depends on the type of possession order. 

Outright possession order

An outright possession order means you have to leave the property by the date given in the order. 

Your landlord or lender can ask another court to evict you if you don't move out. You may have to pay for this eviction.

Suspended possession order

The judge can suspend a possession order. This means they make a possession order, but add certain conditions. The conditions could be

  • paying extra money each month until you clear your debt
  • making sure certain people don't visit your home
  • agreeing to get support to deal with any behaviour problems.

You can stay in your home as long as you stick to the extra conditions. 

Your landlord or lender can take you back to court if you break the conditions. They can ask the judge to make an outright possession order this time. 

Possession order with a stay

The judge can make a possession order and "stay" or postpone it for a period of time. The judge can stay the possession order

  • if you can't leave the property immediately, say because you're ill or pregnant
  • to give you time to pay back any rent you owe to your landlord if you're a housing association tenant.

You don't have full tenancy rights if a judge has made a possession order. This means you might miss out on things like heating or window improvements

Time orders for certain home loans

A judge can make a time order if you have a loan that is regulated by the Consumer Credit Act 1974 .

A time order can restructure your debt and make it easier for you to repay the loan. 

Adjourning a case

The judge can adjourn the case. This means they decide to hold another hearing and to wait until then to make a decision on your case. 

The judge can adjourn your case

  • to give you time to get advice
  • to give you time to sort out any benefit or payment problems
  • if they want certain information that isn't available at this hearing.

The judge will set a date for the new hearing.  You can stay in your home during the adjournment, but you might have to stick to certain conditions. 

Adjourning a case generally

The judge can also decide that the case is adjourned generally. This means the case still exists in court records but it isn't active anymore. 

The judge might adjourn a case generally if the legal matter seems to be sorted out. Your landlord or lender can activate the case again if problems restart.

Dismissing the case

A judge can dismiss a case. This means the case is over. 

Your landlord or lender has to start legal proceedings over if the problem happens again. 

Contact our helpline if you have to go to court because of rent or mortgage problems.