Reasons your landlord can evict you

Find out if your landlord needs a reason to evict you and what you can do if they start the legal process for eviction.

Eviction for no reason: Section 21

Your private landlord doesn't need a legal reason or ground to evict you from an assured shorthold tenancy.

They can:

  1. give you a valid section 21 notice
  2. take court action and obtain a possession order
  3. ask the bailiffs to evict you.

Find out about the section 21 eviction process.

In some situations a landlord can apply for a court order where a judge makes a decision without a court hearing. This is called the accelerated possession procedure.

You can challenge a section 21 eviction if the notice used is not valid, for example if it doesn't contain the correct information or your landlord failed to protect your tenancy deposit. You'll need to attend a court hearing.

Find out when it's possible to challenge eviction from an assured shorthold tenancy.

Ask the council for help if you're facing eviction

Eviction for rent arrears

You are at risk of eviction if you don't pay your rent.

Always sort out your rent problems first. You can also get help to deal with other debts.

You must take action quickly to deal with rent arrears. You may be able to come to an agreement with your landlord to pay off your arrears over time. Make sure that this is affordable and that you can keep to the arrangement. You are less likely to be evicted if you keep the agreements you make.

Tell your landlord if you are in rent arrears because of housing benefit delays or problems. Check you have given the council all the information it needs to process your housing benefit claim.

Find out what you can do if you have rent arrears due to a housing benefit claim.

Eviction for antisocial behaviour

Your landlord may want to evict you because of antisocial behaviour.

If you agree that your behaviour has caused problems, you should do everything to make sure it stops. The first step is to talk to your landlord. Try to show your landlord that the problems have stopped.

If your landlord takes you to court, you'll have to persuade the judge that the problems won't continue.

You may be able to go to mediation to sort out your problems if your neighbours have been complaining unreasonably about your behaviour or noise.

Find out how to deal with disputes with your neighbours.

Eviction for causing damage

Your landlord may want to evict you because you haven't taken care of your home. This could be because you aren't keeping it reasonably clean or because you have damaged it or allowed it to be damaged.

You could repair the damage or offer to pay for the repairs if you have damaged the property. Only try to repair something yourself if you know what you are doing. Making the damage worse will only cause more problems with your landlord.

If you have neglected your home, you must deal with the problem and prove that you can keep the place in good condition. Tell your landlord if you are having difficulty looking after the place because of problems with your health. They may be able to put you in touch with someone who can help you look after your home.

You can contact the council's social services department to ask for an assessment of your needs and arrange for some help.

Find out about a tenant's responsibility for maintenance and repairs.

Eviction if your landlord thinks you've moved out

Your landlord may want to evict you if they think you aren't living in your home, especially if you have been away for a while.

Contact your landlord. Explain that you have been away but still want to come back to live in your home. You should have a good reason for being away, such as looking after a sick relative or working away from home for a short time.

If you are living in your home, you may be able to prove this by showing your telephone, gas or electricity bills.

Eviction if you ask for repairs

Most landlords are happy to do repairs to the homes they rent out. Some private landlords try to evict tenants rather than pay for repairs.

Find out more about eviction because of repairs.

Eviction by a partner or ex-partner

If you're married or in a civil partnership, you have 'home rights'. This means that you can't legally be evicted by your ex even if you're not the tenant or homeowner.

You can only be excluded from the family home by a court. If your ex evicts you without a court order you can apply for an occupation order to re-enter the home.

'Home rights' don't:

  • stop a landlord or lender taking steps to evict or repossess a property
  • apply to cohabitants who are not married or in a civil partnership

Get advice from a solicitor specialising in family law if a partner or ex-partner tries to exclude you from the family home.

Next steps

If you are given a possession order telling you to leave, you may be able to go to court and have this order changed or cancelled.

You may be able to get help from the council if you are about to become homeless. The council has a legal duty to provide advice and assistance to people who are threatened with homelessness.

You may need to look for somewhere else to live if there is nothing you can do to stop the eviction.

Find out  how to find a private rented home.

Where to get advice

Get advice as soon as you can if you're facing eviction from your home.

You may qualify for legal aid (free advice or representation) if you're on a low income.

Call Civil Legal Advice on 0345 345 4 345 to see if you qualify

You can get advice from Shelter regardless of your income:

Call our emergency helpline for initial telephone advice

Look for a Shelter service in your area

Have your notice and court paperwork with you when you speak to an adviser.


Last updated 16 Apr 2015 | © Shelter

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