Can housing association tenants stop the bailiffs

The court can stop your eviction if your housing association has used a discretionary ground to evict you.

No evictions by bailiffs will take place until after 31 May 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. Get advice if you've had a letter from the bailiffs with an eviction date.

When the court can stop the bailiffs

The court can only stop the bailiffs if:

  • you ask them to or

  • your housing association agrees to stop the eviction

The court can sometimes decide to stop the bailiffs if you can show that it is not reasonable to evict you.

For example, you may be able to show that:

  • you can now repay rent arrears or pay your rent regularly

  • a family member who was causing antisocial behaviour has left

The court can only stop the bailiffs if your landlord used discretionary grounds as their reasons to evict you.

Contact a Shelter adviser if you are not sure what grounds you're being evicted on

When the court can't stop the bailiffs

The court can't usually stop the bailiffs if your housing association is evicting you using mandatory grounds for possession such as:

  • ground 8 for rent arrears

  • ground 7A for antisocial behaviour (if someone in your home has been convicted of an antisocial behaviour offence)

The courts can't stop the bailiffs if you have sublet your whole home

How the courts stop or delay the bailiffs

The court sometimes holds a short hearing to decide whether to stop or delay the bailiffs.

Suspending the bailiffs' warrant

The court usually stops the bailiffs by suspending the bailiff's warrant.

The judge often sets conditions such as repaying rent arrears in instalments. You risk eviction if you don't keep to these conditions.

The court can also decide to postpone the hearing for a short period while you try to put things right.

For example, before making a final decision, the court could allow you a month to sort out:

  • housing benefit problems

  • problems with antisocial behaviour in your household

If your housing association agrees you can stay

Your housing association may stop the eviction if you agree to terms such as repaying rent arrears.

Always confirm with the courts that your housing association has formally withdrawn the application for the bailiffs' warrant.

Apply to the courts to stop the bailiffs if the bailiffs' visit hasn't been cancelled.

How to ask the courts to stop the bailiffs

Use form N244 and guidance to apply to the courts to stop the bailiffs.

Last updated: 10 March 2021

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