Eviction of demoted housing association tenants

It's easy for a housing association to evict you if your tenancy is demoted because of antisocial behaviour.

Get advice if you are facing eviction

Get help now if you are facing eviction from a demoted tenancy. Have the papers you received from the housing association and the court with you when you speak to an adviser.

Contact the Civil Legal Advice helpline on 0345 345 4 345. You may be able to get help from a legal aid lawyer if you claim certain benefits or have a low income.

Anyone can call Shelter's free national helpline on 0808 800 4444.

For face to face help, use Shelter's directory to find a housing adviser at a Shelter advice service, Citizen's Advice or law centre.

Risk of eviction

If you have been involved in antisocial behaviour, your housing association can ask the court to downgrade your tenancy to a demoted housing association tenancy. Housing associations do this as an alternative to evicting you.

After a tenancy is demoted, you are an assured shorthold tenant. This type of tenancy makes it easier for the housing association to evict you.

The housing association may decide to evict you if:

  • the antisocial behaviour continues
  • you break other conditions of your tenancy, for example you don't pay your rent

How the housing association can evict you

The housing association must follow the correct legal procedure to evict you from a demoted tenancy. It must:

  • send you a section 21 notice giving you correct notice to leave
  • apply to the court for a possession order
  • ask the court to send bailiffs to evict you

Rules for the section 21 notice

The housing association must send you a section 21 notice.

If your tenancy with the housing association started before 1st October 2015, the section 21 notice must:

  • be in writing
  • be for a minimum of two months
  • expire on the last day of a period of your tenancy – this is usually the day before your rent is due

If your tenancy with the housing association started on or after 1st October 2015, the section 21 notice must also:

  • be on a special form
  • only be given to you after you've been given a copy of an energy performance certificate and a current gas safety record (if there's a gas supply in your home)

You do not have to leave when the notice period expires.

The housing association applies to court

The housing association must apply to the court for a possession order if you stay after the section 21 notice period expires.

The housing association must start court action within six months of the date you received the section 21 notice if your tenancy started on or after 1 October 2015.

There is no time limit for them to start court action if your tenancy started before 1st October 2015.

What happens in court

There is a court hearing where the court decides what to do, unless the housing association uses the fast track eviction process.

The court writes to tell you the date and address of any court hearing. You'll also get a defence form. Complete and return this to the court within 14 days.

Usually your only defence would be if the housing association has not followed the right procedure to evict you, for example if the section 21 notice they gave you is not valid.

The court makes a possession order as long as the section 21 notice is valid and the housing association followed the correct procedure.

The court can decide not to make a possession order in exceptional circumstances only.

The possession order gives the date you have to move out. This will usually be in 14 days.

The court can delay the date for up to six weeks but only if you will suffer exceptional hardship if you have to leave sooner. If you need a delay, you must ask the court.

Fast track eviction process

The housing association can evict you using accelerated possession proceedings after the section 21 notice period expires.

A court hearing is not needed for accelerated possession. This is the quickest way to evict you.

The housing association can't use accelerated possession proceedings if they are also asking the court to order you to pay rent arrears.

The court sends you a defence form to complete. You must return the form to the court within 14 days to tell the court if:

  • you think the section 21 notice is not valid
  • the housing association has not followed the correct procedure
  • you want to ask the court to postpone the possession order for up to 42 days.

The court can only postpone the date the possession takes effect in cases of exceptional hardship.

Eviction by bailiffs

If you don't leave your home by the date given in a possession order from the court, the housing association can apply to the court asking for bailiffs to be sent to evict you.

The court sends you a letter to let you know when the bailiffs are coming.

Find out more about eviction by bailiffs.

 

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