What happens when bailiffs evict tenants

Your landlord can apply for court bailiffs at the end of the eviction process. The job of the bailiffs is to hand the vacant property back to your landlord.

No evictions by bailiffs will take place between 17 November and 11 January except in very limited circumstances.

Evictions can go ahead where the court has made an order because:

  • there was antisocial behaviour
  • you owed more than 9 months' rent before 23 March 2020

The courts will continue to process cases during lockdown. You still need to read any letters from the court and attend the hearing if there is one.

On the eviction date

Most evictions are carried out by county court bailiffs between 9am and 5pm.

Some landlords use high court enforcement officers (HCEOs) to carry out the eviction. HCEOs can't turn up before 6am or after 9pm.

The notice of eviction from the bailiffs should confirm the date and time.

If you're still at the property when the bailiffs arrive, they will ask you to leave.

Ask to see their identification. They must have this with them.

Bailiffs must not use violence or offensive language.

You should be ready to leave and hand the keys back. They may allow you a short time to move your belongings out but it's best to do this in advance. 

The eviction should be delayed if there's a local lockdown in place in your area. Contact the bailiffs to confirm what will happen.

If you leave belongings in the property

Bailiffs don't have to give you extra time to pack your things. You may have to arrange with your landlord to collect any belongings left behind.

Bailiffs must not damage your belongings. They can’t keep your belongings to pay for court costs or for rent arrears, unless the court makes a separate order that says they can do this.

Your landlord must keep your belongings safe for a reasonable time. You could be charged for storage or removal if you don't collect them. 

You may be able to claim money from your landlord if they dispose of your belongings without your permission.

If you'll be homeless after eviction

You can ask the council for help as soon as you're at risk of eviction. You don’t have to wait until the eviction date.

You may qualify for emergency or long term housing if you meet certain conditions. The council may also help you find a new home.

Last updated 18 November 2020 | © Shelter

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