Managing rent arrears
If you get into rent arrears and do not pay the extra money owed to Raglan which has been agreed with your housing officers, we will start proceedings to seek possession of your property. This will ultimately result in Raglan taking you to court.
What happens if you take me to court for rent arrears?
We will tell you when we are applying to court for a possession order hearing. By this stage you will have:
Been contacted by your housing officer on several occasions to discuss your rent account, either by letter, telephone or home visit
Received advice from your housing officer about other organisations who can offer you advice on debt management and welfare benefits advice.
What happens if I want to ask a question about my case?
We will have advised you to contact other organisations for advice and get your own independent legal advice, however we will be happy to talk through any concerns you have about your court hearing. Most courts have a duty solicitor or advisor from the Citizens Advice Bureau or Shelter and you can also get advice from them on the day of your hearing.
You will get a letter from the court telling you the date of your hearing. When you get this letter you can phone the court for more information. You will need to quote your claim number and the date of your hearing whenever you speak to the court.
Where can I go if I need more help?
If you have a disability which will make going to court difficult the customer services officer at the court may be able to help you. If they cannot help you, you can call the Disability Helpline on 0800 358 3506. The helpline is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
If you are deaf or have a hearing impairment you can call 0191 4787 1476 to use the Mini-com Service.
How do I prepare for the hearing?
You should make sure that you know where the court is and how you are getting there. It is important that you attend this hearing as you will be able to explain to the judge your reasons for the unpaid rent. If you need to take any documents or evidence to the court, make sure that you have this well prepared before you go.
You should make sure that you are on time. When you arrive at the court you must report to the court receptionist or usher who will make a note that you have arrived. There will also be a list of cases that will be taking place and you should check your name against this list.
What happens at the hearing?
The judge will normally ask us to give evidence first and explain why we want possession of your home. You will then be sworn in and the judge may ask you questions about why the rent has not been paid. This will be your opportunity to explain to the judge your reasons for not paying your rent. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions to the judge but you should wait to be asked.
What is an ‘order’ and what does it mean?
We will ask the judge to give us a possession order because you have not paid your rent. The types of order the judge may give include the following:
Suspended Possession Order (SPO) – In most cases, we will ask for a SPO. If the judge gives us this order it means that possession of your home is suspended as long as you keep to the terms of the order – usually current rent plus an amount off the arrears. The judge will tell you the date when you have to start making the payments. If you fail to make the payments we can then apply for the bailiff to evict you from your home
Outright Possession Order – If the judge gives us an outright possession order it means you must move out of your home. The judge will put a time limit on the outright possession order, for example, forthwith (straight away), 7 or 14 days. If you cannot clear all the arrears and court costs by the deadline set by the judge we will ask the bailiff to evict you from your home
Adjournment – In some cases we will ask the judge or the judge will decide to adjourn the hearing because they need more information before they can make a decision on your case. The hearing is usually adjourned for the next available date in court after 2, 4 or 6 weeks. This allows time for you or us to get more information to present to the judge at a later date. Sometimes we might ask the judge to adjourn a case with liberty to restore. This means we can take your case back to court at any time if you do not make the payments you have agreed to.
What happens about court costs?
In most cases we will ask for costs – this is usually the court fee. This means that you must pay these costs back to us. We will set up another account alongside your rent account to record these costs.
What happens after the hearing?
The judge will make an order at the hearing. The court will then confirm the detail of the order to you in a letter. They will also write to us with the details of the order. You must make sure that you make the payments set out in the court order otherwise you will lose your home.