Eviction of housing association starter tenants

No evictions by bailiffs will take place until after 21 February except in very limited circumstances.

Evictions may still go ahead if the landlord has proved either:

  • antisocial behaviour

  • at least 6 months' rent arrears

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.

Eviction during a starter tenancy

A starter tenancy is a trial tenancy given to many new housing association tenants. It usually lasts for 12 months.

During your starter tenancy you can be evicted easily, for example if you:

  • owe rent

  • have damaged your home

  • are involved in antisocial behaviour

Get legal advice as soon as you can if you're facing eviction from a starter tenancy.

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

The section 21 eviction process

Your housing association doesn’t have to prove a legal reason to evict you during a starter tenancy. But it must follow the legal procedure outlined below.

They can only use this process if you received the following documents at the start of your tenancy:

  • energy performance certificate

  • current gas safety record (if you have a gas supply in your home)

1. Notice from the housing association

Your housing association must give you a section 21 notice on a special form. They cannot give this notice within the first 4 months of your tenancy.

Your housing association may offer a review of the decision to end your tenancy. This gives you the chance to say why you should be allowed to stay. For example, if you can sort out problems with rent arrears.

Notice periods have been temporarily extended because of coronavirus.

When you were given noticeMinimum notice period
On or after 29 August 20206 months
Between 26 March and 28 August 20203 Months
Before 26 March 20202 months

2. The court process

Your housing association can normally start court action once the date in your notice has passed.

They must apply within:

  • 10 months of giving you notice - for notices on or after 29 August 2020

  • 6 months of giving you notice - for notices before that date

You will get paperwork from the court including a defence form which should be returned within 14 days.

Your housing association must send you a reactivation notice if they apply to court to restart a case that was on hold because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The courts are prioritising cases such as antisocial behaviour or very high rent arrears to be dealt with sooner than others.

With a section 21 eviction, the judge must make a possession order unless the housing association has not followed the right procedure or the section 21 notice is invalid.

Get legal help with the court process. An adviser can:

  • check your notice is valid

  • help with the defence form

  • negotiate with your housing association

3. Eviction after a possession order

The possession order gives a date for you to leave. This will usually be 2 weeks after the order is made but can be up to 6 weeks later if you would suffer exceptional hardship.

If you stay in your home after this date, the housing association can ask court bailiffs to carry out an eviction. The bailiffs must send you a notice 2 weeks before you're due to be evicted.

It's not usually possible to ask the court to stop or delay an eviction at this stage.

The section 8 eviction process

Your housing association may follow a different process where they have to prove a legal reason for the eviction.

They will give you a different type of notice called a section 8 notice.

The court can sometimes delay or stop the eviction if this process is used.

Find out more about the eviction process if your housing association gives you a section 8 notice.


Last updated: 7 January 2021

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