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Possession Order | The Long and the Short

Possession order against tenants or squatters can be transferred to the High Court for enforcement and this decision is generally done to save the cost of spiralling unpaid rent or preventing further damage done to the property with the current occupier(s) inside.

How to Transfer Possession Order to High Court?

Instead of waiting weeks for an eviction date from the local county court bailiff department, enforcement of possession order can be transferred to the High Court and transferred in less than 2 weeks.HCEO’s can start enforcement within days of being instructed, rather than facing weeks of delay in the lower court.  The upfront cost is higher, but this is recouped by the almost immediate repossession of the property, which can be re-marketed or re-developed so that it generates income again.

What is a Possession Order?

The court order is also known as a ‘possession order‘. If a tenant doesn’t leave the premises by the order date on the possession order UK, the landlord can get a ‘warrant of possession‘, allowing the bailiffs to come and evict tenant/trespassers/Squatters.

Standard possession orders

The primary model is standard possession order is used for the Assured or Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement.

A standard possession order is a more complicated method rather than an accelerated possession order. This process allows a landlord to recover possession and rental payment owed by the tenants. It needs more time but it benefits by getting both – property and unpaid rents.

There is a set of laws that must be followed, before starting court proceedings. Firstly, agreement with a properly served notice under section 8 or section 21. Every notice must be served and received alongside with practising minimum notice period i.e., min 2 week – section 8 notice and 2 month – section 21 notice in terms of legislation. Else, a claim will be dismissed.

Cases on which a landlord can claim standard possession order:

  • breaching the tenancy agreement within Section 8 notice (possession notice must be served and ground rules are specified)

  • rent or mortgage arrears,

  • the tenancy has been brought to an end with a section 21 notice and/or landlord claim the unpaid rent

  • forfeiture of the lease

  • trespassing

  • claiming possession

Documents required to issue a standard possession order

Types of the possession order

There are several types of possession orders in the context of landlord-tenant relationships, each serving distinct purposes under different circumstances:

Standard Possession Order (SPO) |

A SPO is the typical court order sought by landlords to regain possession of a property from tenants who have breached their tenancy agreements, often due to non-payment of rent or other violations.

Accelerated Possession Order (APO) |

An APO is a faster legal process for landlords in England and Wales to reclaim possession of their property without a court hearing, primarily used for straightforward cases with specific grounds for possession.

Suspended Possession Order (SPO) |

A SPO allows tenants to remain in the property under specified conditions, such as paying arrears or adhering to behavioral requirements. If the conditions are violated, the landlord can proceed with eviction.

Money Judgment for Possession |

This type of possession order is issued when a court determines the amount owed by a tenant to a landlord for rent arrears or damages, often alongside a possession order.

Interim Possession Order (IPO) |

An IPO is a temporary possession order granted by the court for the removal of squatters or trespassers from a property, providing landlords with swift legal recourse to regain possession.

Each possession order serves a distinct purpose, providing landlords with legal mechanisms to address various issues arising from their tenancy agreements and property rights.

Apply for a possession order

You can apply for a possession order at the court online through Possession Claim Online (PCOL) or by completing the N5 Claim Form for Possession of Property.

What next after having the possession order?

The steps following a possession order depend on whether you’re the landlord or the tenant:


  1. Wait For The Vacate Date | The court order will specify a date by which the tenant must leave the property.
  2. Enforce The Order (if necessary) | If the tenant doesn’t vacate by the deadline, you’ll need to apply for a warrant of possession. This authorizes bailiffs to evict the tenant and regain control of the property. There might be additional court fees associated with this process.
  3. Reclaim The Property | Once the tenant vacates, you can take back possession of the property.
  4. Recover Any Owed Rent | You can pursue legal action to recover unpaid rent through a separate court claim.


  1. Review The Order | Carefully read the possession order to understand the vacate date and any terms attached.
  2. Negotiate With The Landlord (if possible) | Sometimes, landlords may be open to discussing alternatives like catching up on rent arrears or extending the move-out date.
  3. Seek Legal Advice | Citizens advice bureaus or legal aid organizations can offer guidance on your rights and options.
  4. Find Alternative Accommodation | Start looking for a new place to live as soon as possible. There might be government assistance programs or homeless shelters available depending on your location.

Can you appeal a possession order – Changing Possession Order

You can file an appeal against the decision if your landlord didn’t follow the correct procedure and the judge made the possession order in error.

Guidance for landlords and tenants

For Landlords of Residential Premises with Tenants: We take you through the short procedure to seek permission from the High Court to issue a Writ of Possession based on your county court possession order court and the total possession order costs of this exercise through our process is £764.80 which includes all court fees and VAT.  The only item to add includes a locksmith fee which depends on the locks which are being replaced.

If you think our price is higher than the county court – which it may look that way to start with – then we do this exercise:

  • You know the cost to apply for a County Court Warrant of Possession is £121

  • Next, check-in with the possession order form bailiff department when they can give you a date to enforce the Warrant (for a list of county courts)

  • So how many weeks is that away from where you are today?

  • Once you have the number of weeks, multiply that number by the amount of your weekly rent (if the tenant pays monthly then just multiply your monthly rent by 12 and then divide by 52 to give you the weekly figure)

  • Then multiply your weekly figure by the number of weeks you have to wait for a county court bailiff eviction appointment and this will give you what we call “the wait time cost”

  • Now compare the cost of waiting for the county court to carry out the enforcement with the time it will take by transferring your order to the High Court. There is an upfront cost – but once you have re-possessed the property your cashflow should improve

  • Remember we complete 95% of evictions within 10 days of instruction (assuming your court order is in the correct form) – we can also help you with your paperwork to get it in the right format

Court action against trespassers, Evicting Squatters

For Landlords of Residential Premises with Trespassers/Squatters: The cost of removing trespassers from your property will depend on the number of trespassers inside and how entrenched they are.  This in turn determines how many enforcement agents are needed to manage the eviction.  Post-eviction security can also be brought in to support the operation.  If this situation is happening to you, call our Business Solution experts who will listen to your situation and then offer you a solution that is right for your situation.  They will be able to provide you will a full quotation for the costs and talk you through the timescale.

Code of Practice for the Commercial Landlord

For Landlords of Commercial Premises: If you want to take back your commercial property the first thing to do is check the lease and see if you have a right of forfeiture for non-payment of rent or breach of other covenants.  If you do, we can assist you in the forfeiture process and give you a fixed fee for the service.

If you don’t have the right to forfeit the commercial lease, then you will need to request for possession order with express permission allowing you to enforce in the High Court.  We can help you or your solicitors with this aspect of your case.  Once you have this order you are in the same position as a landlord/landowner in removing trespassers.  Call us to discuss the situation and we will be able to offer you a quote based on the number of enforcement agents needed to enforce the order.

Possession Order, Possession Claims and Action.

At Shergroup we have seen every size and scale of possession order hit our inbox so whether it be small or large we will have a solution.  We routinely deal with the removal of travellers and enforce Compulsory Purchase Order Warrants along with traditional court orders.

For each situation, we can assess the cost by talking to you.  What that cost will often depend on whether we can see possession being achieved in 2 hours, or if not, how long we believe, based on our risk assessment of your situation, we need to take to remove all trespassers safely from a site.  The usual length of time is between 3 – 6 hours.  It is unusual for evictions to last longer than this unless it is a major operation such as removing a protest camp, or a major squat.  As a rule of thumb, we need 2 enforcement agents for each trespasser (and that includes a tenant who has overstayed at a property) to be able to move them out.  We can provide a quotation on the same day and usually within an hour of talking to you.

In a nutshell

If you have a judgment to enforce and you are not sure of what to do and what it will cost, please call in and we will give you a no-obligation chat through your options. CALL US ON 0845 890 9200

Even if you have tried to enforce a judgment in the county court or with another HCEO and haven’t achieved the outcome you wanted, talk to us.  We may have a different view, or different enforcement strategy to share.

There is always more than one way to enforce – so don’t leave yourself without options.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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