0370 270 6000

Rent arrears possession orders - is bankruptcy a barrier?

20 July 2011
On 15 July, the Court of Appeal decisions of Christina Sharples v Places for People and Stephen Godfrey v Dominion Homes ltd shed some light on rent arrears possession orders when tenants are bankrupt or have debt relief orders.

It has become increasingly common for tenants in financial difficulty to be made bankrupt or apply for a debt relief order to secure some protection from those debts. A tenants rent arrears will usually be included within these orders.

In the recent conjoined Court of Appeal decisions, the tenants appealed against the possession order made in the landlords favour by the County Court. The tenants argued that the existence of the bankruptcy and debt relief order prohibited the making of a possession order whilst the bankruptcy or debt relief order was in place. The Court of Appeal disagreed with this argument and made the following points:

  • the existence of a bankruptcy or debt relief order did not preclude the making of a possession order and it didnt matter when the bankruptcy/debt relief order was made
  • the court could make a suspended possession order but that couldnt be suspended upon any condition involving the payment of rent arrears
  • any rent arrears that are not provable in the bankruptcy or not subject to the debt relief order could be claimed in possession proceedings.

The key factor here is that, although rent arrears are likely to be written off following a tenants bankruptcy or debt relief order, the landlord still has the option to commence proceedings for the recovery of the property.

Focus on...


Building Safety Bill receives Royal Assent

The new regime introduced by the Act will take shape over the next 18 months, but those who design, build or manage high rise buildings are being urged to get ready for the changes to be introduced through the act.


Legal updates

Levelling Up, Evictions, and the Implications for Property Professionals

The Government’s much-publicised ‘levelling-up’ programme brings with it a number of changes and challenges for property professionals which, without careful preparation, could see a steep rise in allegations and claims for professional negligence.



Environmental Protection Act 1990 claims - the next big thing for claimant solicitors?

Over the last few years, our local authority and housing association clients have reported a significant increase in the number of claims received, usually from one of a specific group of claimant solicitors acting on behalf of tenants alleging a breach of their landlord’s repairing obligations.


Published articles

National Disability Strategy - a comprehensive, concerted plan or a missed opportunity?

What does the National Disability Strategy seek to achieve from a housing perspective, and what will it mean for housing providers?


The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up