How you can be evicted if you are a housing association or private tenant with an assured tenancy.
Check if you are an assured tenant
You probably have an assured tenancy if you rent from a housing association or private landlord and any of the following apply:
- you received written notice from your landlord that it's an assured tenancy
- you moved to a tenancy with the same landlord, but were an assured tenant immediately before your current tenancy began
- your original tenancy started between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997 and your landlord didn't give you a written agreement or notice that it was an assured shorthold tenancy
Many private tenants and some housing association tenants are assured shorthold tenants.
Get advice if you are facing eviction
It is possible to challenge eviction from an assured tenancy. The court may have an option not to evict you.
Get advice as soon as you can.
You may qualify for free legal advice or representation through legal aid if you're on a low income:
You can get advice from Shelter regardless of your income:
It helps if you have documents such as the notice from your landlord and any court papers with you when you call.
If your landlord wants you to leave, they must give you a written notice, often called a section 8 notice.
The notice must:
- be in a special form
- include the 'grounds' your landlord is seeking possession
- include the earliest date your landlord can start court action
The length of time on the notice is usually either 14 days or 2 months.
A written notice for eviction due to antisocial behaviour can take effect after 14 days, 4 weeks, 1 month or even immediately.
Your landlord can start court action during the 12 months after the notice was served. A notice remains valid for one year.
Your landlord has to serve a new notice if they don't start court action within this time.
Court action by your landlord
Your landlord can apply to the county court for a possession order if you have been given a correct notice and the notice period has ended.
The court sends you eviction documents telling you the date of the court hearing and your landlord's eviction claim.
You can send the court information to help the judge decide whether to make a possession order.
You should also go to the court hearing.
How the court decides if you should be evicted
Your landlord must prove to the court that there is a legal reason for the court to decide you should be evicted.
The court must make a possession order if your landlord can prove a mandatory ground for possession applies. The court has no choice.
The court can delay the possession order for up to 6 weeks, but only if you are suffering great hardship.
If your landlord proves to the court that a discretionary ground applies, the court:
- only makes a possession order if it is reasonable for you to be evicted - the court can take into account your circumstances, such as your health and income
- could decide to suspend a possession order
The court attaches conditions to a suspended possession order (such as requiring you to make rent arrears payments of a certain amount). You can't be evicted so long as you keep to the conditions set.
Eviction by bailiffs
Only court bailiffs can evict you from your home. Your landlord can ask the court to send bailiffs to evict you if:
- the court makes an outright possession order but you stay beyond the date the court ordered you to leave
- you break the terms of a suspended possession order
It is sometimes possible to get an eviction order changed.
Reasons for eviction
The reasons (or 'grounds') that landlords can use to evict you from an assured tenancy are either 'mandatory grounds' or 'discretionary grounds'.
The court must order you to leave the property if your landlord can prove a 'mandatory ground' for possession.
Examples of mandatory grounds include:
- more than 8 weeks' rent arrears owing, or two months if you pay your rent monthly, at the time the notice was served and at the date of the court hearing
- antisocial behaviour, if the courts have already convicted you or a member of your household for antisocial behaviour
- your landlord wants to live in the property (if prior notice of the possibility of this was given)
- redevelopment of the property
If your landlord can only prove a discretionary ground, the court only orders you to leave if it is reasonable to do so.
Examples of discretionary grounds include:
- some rent arrears
- persistent late payment of rent
- breach of tenancy agreement
- antisocial behaviour
- damage to the property
Rather than order your eviction, the court could make a suspended possession order and set terms for you to comply with.
Illegal eviction of assured tenants
It could be illegal eviction if your landlord tries to evict you without getting a court order.
The council might be able to help stop the illegal eviction.
Last updated 07 May 2015 | © Shelter
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