See how you can prevent eviction or defend the case if it goes to court.
Where to get eviction advice
You lose a lifetime tenancy if you are evicted from an assured housing association tenancy. Most housing association tenants have this tenancy type.
Get advice now if you're facing eviction. Have the papers you received from the court to hand when you speak to an adviser.
Contact Civil Legal Advice on 0345 345 4 345 to see if you qualify for legal aid
Call Shelter's free national helpline on 0808 800 4444 to speak to one of our expert advisers
Use Shelter's directory to find local advice from Shelter, Citizens Advice or a law centre
The eviction process
To evict you from an assured housing association tenancy, a housing association must take these steps:
1. Send you notice to leave
The housing association must give you notice on a special form that sets out the:
- reasons for wanting to evict you
- length of notice (usually 2 weeks or 2 months, depending on the reasons)
The form is called a 'notice seeking possession' or 'section 8 notice'.
You do not have to leave when the notice period expires.
2. Start court proceedings
The housing association can apply to the court for a possession order when the notice period expires.
It must apply to court within 12 months of giving you notice. If more than 12 months have passed, the housing association must give you a new notice before they can start proceedings.
After the application is made, the court sends you a:
- claim form with the time and date of the court hearing and the reasons the council wants you to be evicted
- defence form to complete and return to the court within 14 days.
In cases of serious antisocial behaviour, a housing association can apply to court straight after giving you notice.
3. Attend court and ask for a possession order
Your housing association will attend the court hearing and ask the court to make a possession order.
The court could decide to do one of these things:
- grant an outright possession order - this gives you until a certain date to leave
- grant a suspended possession order - this means you can stay if you keep to conditions the court sets
- adjourn - this postpones your case to a later date
- dismiss the case against you
The court considers the reasons the housing association wants to evict you. It looks at the evidence from you and your landlord.
If the court decides you should be evicted, it can consider reasons why the eviction date should be delayed.
4. Apply for bailiffs to evict you
The council can ask the court to send bailiffs to evict you if you:
- stay beyond the date a court order said you must leave
- break the terms of a suspended order
How to challenge eviction
Talk to your landlord
It's always worth negotiating to prevent court action. The housing association should follow rules to make sure eviction is a last resort.
Reply to the court
You can provide information to the court on your defence form to help it decide what should happen.
Attend the court hearing
The court hearing is your opportunity to put forward your case. There is more chance of you keeping your home if you go. The court will listen to you and take account of any evidence you provide.
You can attend the hearing even if you didn't send a defence form to the court.
You may be able to get legal help free of charge from an adviser at the court.
Contact your local court for details of their housing possession court duty scheme.
Challenge eviction by bailiffs
It is sometimes possible to take court action to challenge eviction by bailiffs.
When the court must order eviction
The court must order your eviction from an assured housing association tenancy if your landlord proves a mandatory ground (legal reason) for eviction.
These are the most common mandatory grounds for eviction:
Assured tenants with serious rent arrears
The court must make an order to evict you if you owe more than either:
- 8 weeks' rent if you pay weekly
- 2 months' rent if you pay monthly
Your rent arrears must be above these levels on both the date the housing association gave you notice to leave and on the date of the court hearing.
Assured tenants guilty of serious antisocial behaviour
You can be evicted if you or a member of your household or a visitor has already been convicted of antisocial behaviour.
The court must make an order for you to be evicted for example if you have been convicted of:
- a serious offence
- a breach of a criminal behaviour order
- breaching a court order about serious noise nuisance
Starter tenants with a trial tenancy
The court must agree to evict you from a housing association starter tenancy if your housing association has followed the correct procedures.
The housing association doesn't have to prove to the court that there's a reason you should have to leave.
You'll be at risk of eviction from a housing association demoted tenancy if antisocial behaviour continues.
The court must order you to leave if the housing association follows the correct procedures.
When the court could order eviction
The court can decide if you should be evicted from an assured tenancy if your housing association takes you to court using discretionary grounds for eviction.
These are the most common discretionary grounds used:
The court can decide if you should be evicted for rent arrears if you have less than 8 weeks or 2 months rent arrears.
You could be evicted if you, a member of your household or a visitor:
- cause a nuisance in your neighbourhood
- use your home for illegal activities such as drug dealing
- are violent towards your partner and they leave home as a result
Breaking your tenancy agreement
- don't pay the rent on time
- refuse to allow workmen in to carry out repairs
- keep pets without permission
Last updated 21 Apr 2017 | © Shelter