Repossession hearing - What happens in a trial?

Good morning

I served section 8 notice for rent arrears many months ago, rental arrears is currently 6 months.

Tenant is trying to counterclaim for maintenance (Property is fine).

After a few hearings, 1 day trial has been set for a few months time.

Does anyone know what happens at these trials? Is it similar setting to a criminal trial etc or is it just looking into evidence in detail.

I have provided alot of evidence to refute nearly all of T’s allegations thus far. T has not provided a shred of evidence yet as they just gone off unfounded allegations at the moment.

1 Like

Hi not sure with regards your question but did you also serve a section 21?

Ask to do maintenance inspections now and shortly before the hearing date. If he refuses, ask 3 times and keep a record of the rejection. If you do get access, fix anything serious and test everything else, preferably with a witness. On the assumption that the arrears will increase, even if he successfully argued some minor disrepair, the amount would be unlikely to reduce the arrears below the 2 month threshold, so I would say there is a good chance your s8 claim will be successful.


Thanks for your replies both

I did serve a secrion 21 at the same time aa the section 8.

When they moved in during early 2015, I did not take a deposit (I was naive as an accidental landlord). However they are arguing they did provide a deposit - I’m guessing they are trying to offset rental arrears upto 3 times by trying to show the alleged deposit was not protected.

This is the twist in the tale, they trying to state in 2018, a second tenancy was made and a further deposit was taken’. - No tenancy was ever made and I certainly didn’t take another deposit.

Hopefully the judge questions why they would provide an alleged ‘second deposit’ without receiving the first ine back.

The tenancy has been rolling after the initial tenancy in 2015 . The tenant confirmed this in their initial PCOL defence that they have ever been in 1 tenancy agreement and then it went ‘verbal’ after that.

However after they appointed a solicitor there story somewhat changed. To date no proof of this ‘second tenancy’ has been provided or any proofs of any deposit. The tenants have not provided any evidence whatsoever.

I have text messages going back 2019 showing the tenant was in arrears due to personal issues/affected by covid and how he will try to clear the balance
Not once has he mentioned rent is not being paid due to maintenance, which he has put in his PCOL defence.

So the Tenant is hoping on 2 sets of deposits which they think should get me fined upto X6 to offset the rental arrears, then the rest on maintenance.

They complained of damp in the PCOL, I got out a damp specialist and he stated in wirting it was condensation due to clutter and not ventilating the house propery.

Over the past year I have carried out upto 10k in refurbishing the bathrooms. Kitchen is old oak, however still functional. Any maintenance reported by T over the years I have invoices and also evidence of works carried out ’ BG and homeserve reports etc

Court stated myself and T have to decide on a expert to come and view the property prior to the trial.

I know alot of their lies will be exposed during the trial, i’m just mentally trying to prepare myself on how the process runs. I will be representing myself and T has legal aid and a not good solicitor (filed PCOL defence late, didn’t bother turning up to previous hearing- judge didn’t accept his excuse).

I’m hoping the evidence will work in my favour and I get possession and T gets exposed.


If the tenant has applied for a council house it’s maybe worth contacting your local council and let them know they are in serious rent arrears and therefore making themselves homeless. Not sure how you could go about that but if they receive housing benefit or UC the local authority need to know the situation.

What happened to make the tenant think there is a second tenancy? Did a fixed term expire? Did you offer a new replacement tenancy? Did he serve notice but stay on in the property?

Does the tenancy agreement say there is a deposit? They will no doubt say they paid it in cash, but you should ask them to show the withdrawal from their bank. You can show your bank statements that nothing was recieved/deposited.


The tenant has applied for a counil house and the council did contact me a month aho asking for an update. I just stated Tenant is in arrears and it’s still going through the courts.

Tenant is fighting it hard as they know if I win they will not get a council house due to making themselves intentioveto go pri atelly homeless. Then they will have to go private and pay higher rent as I am charging low rent.

Tenant did liaise with me asking if I can serve them a section 21 instead which I refused

The reason they stating a second tenancy was served was because I issued them a rent notification increase in 2018, not an TA but I think they are just trying everything.

Also early this year I issued them a section 13, they completely ignored this and still paying the precious rent. I have sent emails everymo th reminding them of the new rent and balance owing. It’s like it’s up to them how much they want to pay. Hopefully the judge throws the book at them as they have not even appealed the recent S13 which was seeved in Dec 2022 for effect Feb 23.

Sounds like the tenant has backed themselves into a corner as they’ll struggle to find a new private rental with no previous landlord reference. From my limited understanding, some grounds under section 8 are mandatory and excessive rent arrears are included.
Years ago I had a tenant who stopped paying rent and asked for a section 21. I immediately informed the council and it turned out that the tenant had applied for a council house.The council informed her that she must continue to pay rent or she would not be considered, after that she did start to pay the rent again and caught up the arrears, although it sounds like your tenant has no intentions of that. If it all hinges on the deposit situation, as has been already said, I’d have thought you just need to prove you never received any.

What about the deposit?

No deposit were ever taken, however tenant stating they gave me 2 sets of deposits over the years. They basicaly trying to get me fined to offset their rental arrears so rent is below threshold for ground 8 which is mandatory.

Who does the burden on proof fall on to prove the deposit? Myself or tenant.

How do i prove something I never recieved whereas the tenant can prove money being tsken out their account or an receipt?

Sorry for any typo’s or autocorrects as i’m using my phone.

Don’t worry they will leave just b4 the hearing starts or just after. It’s not a trial it’s a hearing where the judge will come down in your favour if you have all the relevant paperwork


I have a final question, will any questions be put to the tenant im regards to any of the points?

If not by the judge then I would like to put some forward.

On the previous counterclaim the solicitor has signed everything on behalf of the Tenant, however I want to ask them(or the judge) directly.

You are doing right to pursue a section 8 rather than section 21 in these circumstances. Accelerated procedure under section 21 can be refused on technicalities but this is much less likely to happen under section 8. .

The hearing is not at all like a criminal trial - it is not heard in a criminal court but in a civic court - the judge receives the evidence and makes a judgment. He will usually ask you questions .

Under section 8 using the rent arrears grounds he is basically judging if there are current rent arrears at the time of the trial.

I suspect you might be best having your own solicitor to hold you hand and guide your through the process and represent you given these complications. It could save you time and money in the long run.

If the judge wants more documents he will postpone the hearing to a later day (which will cost you more in a arrears ) so having a solicitor to ensure all your paperwork is in order might save you money in that regard.

However in these situations sometimes a tenant is just spinning it out and may do a runner before the court hearing - or may try borrow money to bring their arrears under 2 months and forstall the actual hearing - only to go straight back into arrears after that

Make sure you provide your tenant with a statement of arrears - and a statement that no deposit was paid.

My instinct is that the tenant will be required to provide proof that there was a deposit if they are seeking to reclaim it. Remember in civil hearings things can be decided by the judge on a balance of probabilities rather than absolute proof - so for example if your advertisement demanded a deposit but you never got round to taking it then you might be in a bit of a grey area.
If you never requested a deposit the tenant would probably have to provide reasonable proof they paid one

But any tenant who is still in arrears at the time of a section 8 hearing is not likely to find any of the above is a valid defence . tenants are always advised to pay off arrears or withheld rent if they want to defend against eviction

Tenants evicted due to arrears with a county court judgement against them are not usually offered a council property anytime soon even if they homeless - the most they are likely to get is an emergency room in in a “homeless” hotel with no cooking facilities. And they will stay there a long time
They also struggle to be accepted by other private landlords (which is why many do a runner in the hope you won’t go to court)

That’s what recently happed to a family with kids I was forced to evict - sadly many live in th fantasy that they will get council property but there are not enough to go round so

I have represented my self but you can get caught out so do consider getting your own solicitor - you may find when you do the tenants solicitor backs down anyway …


Thanks Mark107, the tenant is currently around 5 months in arrears. It was 3 months at the start if the section 8. The arrears have grown and they are not paying the new rent increase which I issued a few mo ths ago under s13. They didn’t even fight it at tribunal so are now bound.

You didnt answer my previous question about whether the tenancy agreement says there was a deposit?

If they lose do they have to pay the Solicitor? I assume if when they work they will need to pay the scumbag? I spent years in court with my ex husband… a little trick is to send “useless” / relevant questions one by one… it racks up their legal fees. Situation is horrible for you - as I keep saying this is why landlords are selling at a rate never seen before - tenants get away with too much and are helped out in cheating landlords - Push for a CCJ as that will remain on their record and trip them up for a very long time.


Sorry for the late reply

The TA says deposit ‘payable’, however they never paid it

Thanks Susan, unfortunately Legal Aid will pay if they lose.

I’m just curious if the decision goes against them, can they appeal using legal aid

I’ve no advice as new landlord too but good luck and please keep us updated as to the outcome.

The tenant will argue that they paid the deposit in cash and that the TA agrees. You will need to take this seriously and get your evidence together.