Homeless if asked to leave or evicted

Find out what to do if you've been asked to leave where you live or you're facing eviction. Preventing eviction can help you avoid homelessness.

Eviction by your partner

Your husband, wife, or civil partner can't evict you from the home you both live in.

This applies whether or not you are the legal owner or tenant of the property.

Only a court can order you to leave your home. The court would be unlikely to order this unless you have been violent to your partner, it is in the interests of your children or you are getting divorced.

You may have the right to return to your home if you have already left. You may need to get a court order to make sure you can do this.

If you are not married or in a civil partnership and you are not a legal owner or tenant of your home, your partner can usually give you reasonable notice that they want you to leave. They should not use force to evict you.

You may be able to apply for an occupation order if you've been evicted from your home by a former partner or if you want to exclude a violent partner from the home.

You will usually need the help of a family law solicitor. Legal aid may be available if you are a victim of domestic violence.

Eviction by your landlord

You do not have to leave just because you've been told to.

In most cases there is a legal process that landlords must follow. This includes getting a court order to make you leave.

A court order isn't needed if you share your home with your landlord.

A landlord must be able to prove that they have followed the correct procedure before a court will order your eviction.

The process varies depending on what sort of tenancy you have.  Find out what steps your landlord must take to evict you from a:

Get advice immediately if you have been told to leave by your landlord or have been given court papers. An adviser can help to check if you can stop or delay the eviction.

Use Shelter's directory to find advice agencies in your area.

Harassment by your landlord

Some landlords try to force tenants to leave by harassing them. This is a criminal offence.

Harassment can include:

  • making threats
  • cutting off the gas and electricity
  • opening your mail or removing your belongings
  • entering your home without your permission

Get advice immediately if this happens to you.

Use Shelter's directory to find the contact details of your council's tenancy relations officer, a Shelter advice centre or Citizens Advice.

Asked to leave by a friend or relative

If you have been asked to go when staying with friends or relatives (other than your husband, wife or civil partner) or are a lodger in your landlord's home, you probably have to leave once the notice they give you expires.

It may be worth asking if you could stay longer if you are getting help to find a place of your own.

Repossession by your lender

A mortgage lender who wants to repossess your home must get a court order.

Lenders usually take action to repossess a home because owners have missed some mortgage payments. Your chances of keeping your home mainly depend on being able to pay off what you owe over a reasonable period.

Get advice as soon as you can if you have mortgage arrears. If your lender has already applied to court you can still get advice as it may be possible to stop or delay eviction

Find out more about avoiding repossession.

Get housing help and advice from Shelter

An adviser might be able to help you avoid becoming homeless by:

Use Shelter's advice services directory to find an adviser near you.

A housing adviser may be able to help you look for somewhere else to live either in the short or long term.

An adviser can explain how to apply to the council for emergency help and discuss if you can apply for social housing or look at options for renting privately.

Get advice about debt

Contact a money or debt adviser if your problems started because of financial difficulties.

An adviser can check whether you are receiving everything you are entitled to and help you draw up a budget and work out a suitable repayment plan to clear your debts.

Contact the Money Advice Service for more information about dealing with debt.


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