Eviction of housing association starter tenants

Coronavirus update: evictions are on hold

Court action for eviction is on hold until at least 23 August.

Your landlord can't get a court order to evict you until after that date.

Use the time to sort out problems with rent arrears or antisocial behaviour.

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

The 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 correctly.

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.

A section 21 notice must give you at least

  • 2 months if given before 26 March 2020
  • 3 months if given on or after 26 March 2020

You do not have to leave when the notice period expires.

Some housing associations let you ask for 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 come to an arrangement to pay off any rent arrears.

The housing association can only give you a section 21 notice 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)

2. The court process

Your housing association must apply to the court for a possession order to evict you.

They can't apply until date on the section 21 notice has passed. Court action must start within 6 months of you getting the notice. After this, the notice is no longer valid.

Court action for eviction is on hold until at least 23 August. Your housing association can't get a court order to evict you until after that date. 

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

Usually you only have a defence if the housing association has not followed the right procedure or the section 21 notice is invalid.

If the court paperwork doesn't include a hearing date, your housing association may be using accelerated possession proceedings. This means there won't usually be a hearing unless you submit a defence or the court thinks there should be a hearing. 

Use the defence form to explain if your notice is invalid, or to ask for a short delay if you would suffer exceptional hardship if you have to leave within 14 days. For example, if you'll be homeless.

3. Eviction after a possession order

If you don't have a defence, the court will make 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. This can take a few weeks.

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

Get legal advice if you haven't already done so.

Eviction for a legal reason

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 08 June 2020 | © Shelter

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