Eviction of housing association starter tenants

If you are a new housing association tenant, you may be given a starter tenancy. It is easy for the housing association to evict you.

Rules for eviction from a starter tenancy

Many housing associations give new tenants a trial or probationary tenancy called a starter tenancy. This is a fixed-term assured shorthold tenancy, usually for 12 months.

It's easy for the housing association to evict you from a starter tenancy. It must give you the correct notice and get a court order for possession.

The housing association doesn't have to prove a legal reason to evict you.

If the housing association follows the correct procedure, the court has no choice and must order an eviction.

Find out more about housing association starter tenants.

Why the housing association would evict you

Your landlord can decide to evict you after the end of your fixed term.

Your landlord doesn't need a legal reason to evict you. They could decide to do this for example if:

  • you owe rent
  • have damaged your home
  • been involved in anti-social behaviour.

Notice from the housing association

Your landlord must follow the correct legal procedure to evict you.

Your landlord must serve you with a section 21 notice. The notice must be in writing and must not expire for at least two months.

The section 21 notice can be given to you before the end of the fixed-term.

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

If your tenancy started or was renewed on or after 1st October 2015, there are additional rules for a section 21 notice to be lawful.

The notice:

  • must be on a special form
  • cannot be given to you until at least four months after the start of your original tenancy
  • can't be given to you until after you have been provided with a copy of an energy performance certificate and current gas safety record (if you have a gas supply in your home)

Your landlord must start court action within six months of the date you received the section 21 notice.

These additional rules do not apply if your current tenancy started before 1st October 2015.

If you are given a new fixed-term assured shorthold tenancy after your starter tenancy expires, your housing association must give you a new section 21 notice if it wants to evict you.

The housing association applies to court

The housing association must apply to the court for a possession order to evict you.

They cannot apply until the:

  • section 21 notice period has expired
  • fixed term of your tenancy has expired

The court writes to you giving you the date and address of the court hearing, along with a defence form. Return the defence form 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 it gave you is not valid.

Get advice immediately if you think the housing association did not give you the correct notice.

Use Shelter's directory to find a housing adviser at a Shelter advice service, Citizen's Advice or law centre.

Eviction after a possession order is made

There is a court hearing where the court decides what to do.

Before making a court order the court should check if a valid section 21 notice was served.

The court must make 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. You can ask the court for up to six weeks before the order takes effect but only if you would suffer exceptional hardship if you had to leave sooner.

If you stay in your home after the date the court says you have to leave, the housing association can ask the court to send bailiffs to evict you.

Court bailiffs can evict you from your home if the court issues a bailiff's warrant.

Find out more about eviction by bailiffs.

Fast eviction from a starter tenancy

A housing association can evict you using accelerated possession proceedings. This is the quickest way to evict you. A court hearing is not needed for this.

The housing association must serve you with a valid section 21 notice.

If the housing association applies to the court using accelerated possession proceedings, the court sends you a form to complete.

Return the form to the court within 14 days if you think the section 21 notice is not valid or if you want the court to postpone the possession order for up to 42 days. The court can do this in cases of exceptional hardship.

The housing association cannot use accelerated possession proceedings if it is applying for a court order telling you to also pay off rent arrears.

Eviction before your starter tenancy expires

If your housing association wants to evict you before your starter tenancy has expired, it must follow the procedure for evicting assured tenants of housing associations.

The housing association can only evict you before the end of the fixed-term if there are legal reasons including rent arrears, breaking your tenancy agreement or damaging the property

To evict you, the housing association must:

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

Find out more about the eviction of assured tenants of housing associations.

Get advice if you're being evicted from a starter tenancy

Get help now if you are facing eviction from a starter tenancy.

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.

Use Shelter's directory to find a housing adviser at a Shelter advice service, Citizen's Advice or law centre.

Have the papers you received from your landlord or the court with you when you speak to an adviser.

 
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