How to stop eviction by bailiffs

Get advice as soon as you get a bailiffs' letter. You may be able to delay eviction and keep your home.

Eviction step 3 - bailiffs

Get advice

Get advice now if you're facing eviction. Have the court papers you received ready when you speak to an adviser.

Contact a Shelter adviser online, by phone or in person.

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

Ask your council for help if you're facing eviction.

Look out for notice the bailiffs are coming

You normally get notice of the time and date of an eviction on a court document called Form N54. The bailiffs post this or deliver it by hand.

You should get at least two or three days' notice that the bailiffs are coming.

If your landlord uses high court authorised bailiffs, the only warning you might get is notice from your landlord that they're asking the high court bailiffs to evict you.

Find out what happens when bailiffs evict.

Stopping the bailiffs

It may be possible for a court to stop or delay the bailiffs.

Find out how to stop the bailiffs if you are a:

The court's decision will depend on your tenancy and the reasons why the court made a possession order.

Check if bailiffs can evict you

Only a court can send bailiffs to evict you from your home. It's not lawful for your landlord to evict you themselves.

Your landlord must apply to the court for a bailiffs' warrant. This is also known as a warrant for possession. This allows the bailiffs to evict you.

Your landlord can apply for the bailiffs to evict you if:

  • you don't leave your home by the date the court set in an outright possession order
  • the court has made a suspended possession order but you haven't kept to the conditions the court imposed

A common example of breaking conditions is if you don't make the rent arrears payments set out in the court order.

Get legal advice for a court hearing

To stop the bailiffs, you must apply to ask the court to stop or suspend the bailiffs. 

There will probably be a short court hearing.

Ask the court if there is a free legal advice service available at the court. 

The service may be called the housing possession court duty scheme, court desk scheme or county court duty scheme.

Not all courts have an adviser available. Get advice in advance if you can. Contact a Shelter adviser online, by phone or in person.

Get help if you'll be homeless

You can ask your council for help if you are going to become homeless

The council may have a duty to provide you with somewhere to live.


Last updated 02 Oct 2018 | © Shelter

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