You could be a regulated tenant if your tenancy started before 15 January 1989. Regulated tenants have strong rights and can only be evicted in certain circumstances.
Rights of regulated tenants
If you are a private tenant, your rights depend on the type of living arrangement you have, the date you moved in and the agreement you have with your landlord.
The court only makes a possession order if your landlord proves a legal reason or 'ground' for evicting you. Sometimes, the court can only make a possession order if it is reasonable to do so.
Get advice as soon as possible if you are being threatened with eviction. Don't give up your home without doing this.
Does it matter what stage your tenancy is at?
Regulated tenancies have two stages. The first is the contractual stage which lasts for the duration of your original agreement with your landlord.
In general, as no new regulated tenancies can have started since 15 January 1989, it is quite unlikely that your tenancy is still in the contractual stage.
Once the contractual stage comes to an end your tenancy then enters the statutory stage. The contractual stage ends:
- when the fixed-term runs out
- if your landlord serves a valid notice to quit, or a notice to increase the rent which is the same length as a notice to quit
It is only possible for your landlord to get a court order to evict you once your tenancy is in its statutory stage.
Court action to evict regulated tenants
The landlord can apply for a possession order from the court if your tenancy is at the statutory stage.
The court only makes a possession order if your landlord can prove a ground (legal reason). The grounds that landlords can use are divided into two types, mandatory and discretionary.
Mandatory grounds for eviction
If your landlord can prove a mandatory ground for possession the court must make a possession order to evict you.
These grounds cannot be used unless the landlord told you, in writing, at the start of your tenancy that you may be evicted for one of these reasons:
- your landlord (or a member of your landlord's family in some circumstances) wants to return to live in the property (and lived there previously)
- your landlord wants to retire to the property
- a minister of religion normally occupies the property and needs to live there
- an agricultural worker normally occupies the property and needs to live there (and you are not an agricultural worker)
- your landlord is a member of the armed forces and intends to live there after discharge
If you are no longer living in the property, the landlord can get a possession order to evict you.
Discretionary grounds for eviction
If your landlord is using a discretionary ground for possession the court has to consider whether it is reasonable for possession to be granted.
It's up to the court to decide what is reasonable. Your particular circumstances should be taken into account.
Discretionary grounds include:
- suitable alternative accommodation is available for you (this could be another private tenancy or council accommodation)
- you have rent arrears
- you have breached the terms of your tenancy agreement
- you have caused nuisance or annoyance
- the furniture or condition of the property has deteriorated
- you have assigned the tenancy or sublet your whole home without the landlord's consent
- you were employed by your landlord and the accommodation is needed for a new worker
- your landlord or a member of your landlord's family needs the property to live in more than you do
Even if the court does grant possession to your landlord it can suspend possession. This means that you can't be evicted as long as you keep to certain conditions set by the court, for example paying a certain amount each week towards your rent arrears.
Could the eviction be illegal?
There are steps you can do to stop the landlord from doing this. Your local council or an advice centre might be able to help.
Use Shelter's advice services directory to find a face-to-face adviser near you.