Eviction for rent arrears

Your landlord must usually follow rules for eviction before evicting you for rent arrears.

How landlords deal with rent arrears

If you have rent arrears, your landlord could negotiate with you to pay back the money you owe.

Depending on your tenancy type, the landlord may need to apply for a court order if they want to evict you.

If you live with your landlord, they can give you reasonable notice to leave if you have rent arrears.

The landlord could decide to take you to court to ask for a money judgment ordering you to pay back the arrears.

Eviction of assured shorthold tenants

Most private tenants have assured shorthold tenancies.

Landlords must follow a straightforward process to evict an assured shorthold tenant. They must serve the correct notice and get a court order.

Eviction of council tenants

Many council tenants have a secure tenancy. Secure tenants can only be evicted after the council gets a court order and asks the court to send bailiffs.

Some council tenants have introductory tenancies or demoted tenancies. The council can evict you easily if you miss rent payments while you have one of these tenancies.

Read more about the eviction of introductory tenants and demoted council tenants.

If the council hasn't started the eviction process before the end of the trial period, your tenancy becomes a secure tenancy. It is harder for the council to evict you from a secure tenancy.

Eviction of housing association tenants

Most housing association tenants have an assured tenancy. Assured tenants can only be evicted after the housing association gets a court order and asks the court to send bailiffs.

Some housing association tenants have a starter tenancy (usually an assured shorthold) or a demoted tenancy. The housing association can evict you easily if you miss rent payments while you have one of these tenancies.

Eviction of other types of tenants

It is easy for private landlords to evict you if you are an excluded occupier. Most lodgers are excluded occupiers.

it is also easy to evict an occupier with basic protection, for example if you are a student in halls of residence.

You could be a regulated tenant if your tenancy started before 15 January 1989. Regulated tenants have strong rights and can only be evicted after your landlord gets a court order and asks the court to send bailiffs.

Ending your tenancy while you have rent arrears

You must end your tenancy properly by giving the correct notice if you decide you want to leave.

Check your tenancy agreement or contact an adviser if you are not sure how much notice you need to give.

If you don't tell your landlord that you are leaving and give them the correct written notice, your arrears could increase. The landlord could still take legal action against you to recover the money you owe. 

For most tenancies, you have to give at least four weeks' notice. You are responsible for paying the rent until the end of the notice period.

If you have a fixed-term tenancy you are usually responsible for paying the rent until the end of the fixed-term. Check your tenancy agreement because there may be a clause that says you can end the tenancy early.

Your landlord may agree that you can end your tenancy immediately or on short notice. Get your landlord's agreement to do this in writing, to avoid any dispute later.

Your landlord can usually take you to court for any money that you owe, even after you have left the property.

Finding a new home after eviction for rent arrears

It may be difficult for you to find a new place to live if you don't pay your rent arrears or you are evicted.

Private landlords ask for a reference from your last landlord and might not accept you as a tenant if you've been evicted for rent arrears.

Read more about how private landlords check tenants.

Some councils may say you can't go on the waiting list for a permanent home because of rent arrears.

Your local council may decide you are intentionally homeless if you have been evicted because of rent arrears. This could mean the council offers you less help.

Get advice from Shelter if you find it difficult to find a new home after eviction. Use Shelter's directory to find a local advice centre.

Get advice about eviction for rent arrears

Get advice if your landlord is evicting you or taking you to court because you have rent arrears.

The landlord can ask the court to order you to pay any unpaid rent and evict you from your home. You might have to pay court costs as well as the money you owe.

Call the Civil Legal Advice helpline on 0345 345 4 345. You may be able to get help from a legal aid lawyer if you are on 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.

Act as quickly as possible or your options may be very limited. Don't wait until the last minute.

Money worries? Don't leave it 'til the last minute | advice | Shelter

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