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HOUSING COURT DUTY SCHEME


The Housing Court Duty Scheme (HCDS) provides last-minute help to people facing eviction or repossession. Possession hearings at court are currently suspended from 27 March 2020 for 90 days. However if you've been sent court papers about eviction, it's vital you still seek legal advice now - and we're here to help.

 

Even though the government has paused posession proceedings for 90 days, please get in touch with us if:

  • You've been sent a notice from your landlord asking you to leave the property
  • You've been sent court orders, or court papers, or eviction papers about a pending hearing or eviction
  • Your landlord is trying to illegally evict you (eg without going to court)
  • You are homeless or threatened with homelessness
  • Your home is in such bad disrepair that it's a serious risk of harm to the health and safety of you or your family

For these issues, you may be eligible for legal aid. You can email us at enquiries@swllc.org or phone us on 020 8767 2777. Please note our phone lines are very busy, so please email if you can. If you phone, please leave us a voicemail and we'll call you back as soon as we can. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

About the Housing Posession Court Duty Scheme

In south-west London the scheme usually operates at three County Courts: Croydon, Kingston-upon-Thames and Wandsworth. Specialist legal advisers attend the court on the days when eviction and repossession cases are being heard. These advisers are available free of charge to all tenants or mortgage-holders facing eviction or repossession – regardless of income – who have a hearing listed on that day.

 

Housing Court Duty advisers are limited in what they can achieve on the hearing date, so you will also need to seek legal advice well in advance of the hearing. This will give you more time to get your evidence together and a better chance of keeping your home. Getting legal advice well in advance could mean the difference between a favourable and unfavourable outcome at your hearing.

 

We may be able to advise you before your court date, for instance by phone advice from one of our pro bono advisers. For more information, please call us on 020 8767 2777.

 

Download our leaflet here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To find the HCDS legal adviser at the court, ask a receptionist or court clerk for the Housing Court Duty Scheme. The legal adviser might be very busy on the day, so you need to arrive at court about an hour before your hearing is listed.

 

The HCDS legal advisers can help you with:

  • free legal advice
  • referral onwards (if necessary)
  • representation at the hearing (if appropriate).

Eviction

If your landlord (private, Council or Housing Association) has served you a Notice Seeking Possession (or Notice to Quit) or has issued court proceedings, then we can help.  We can also help if your landlord has applied for the bailiffs (warrant of possession).  It does not matter why your landlord is trying to evict you – we can help you.

 

Repossession

 

If you have a mortgage and the lender is seeking to repossess your home, then we can help you at court. Our debt team may also be able to provide advice and support to resolve any debt issues you have.

We operate the Housing Court Duty Scheme on the following days:

  • Croydon County Court usually holds repossession hearings on Wednesdays and Fridays. We also attend Croydon County Court on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays for warrant cases.

  • Kingston County Court usually holds repossession hearings on Mondays and Tuesdays.
  • Wandsworth County Court usually holds repossession hearings on Mondays and Wednesdays.