Can private tenants stop the bailiffs
Private tenant evictions by bailiffs are hard to stop, but you can ask the court to stop or delay an eviction in some situations.
When the court can't stop eviction by bailiffs
The court can't stop eviction by bailiffs if your landlord got a court order to evict you for any of these reasons:
Section 21 eviction
The court can't stop the bailiffs if all of these apply:
you are an assured shorthold tenant
your landlord gave you a valid section 21 notice
there was a court hearing to decide if you should be evicted
your landlord got a court order setting a date for you to leave
Section 8 eviction on rent arrears ground 8
The court can't stop the bailiffs if your landlord got a court order using rent arrears ground 8.
You can be evicted on ground 8 if you owe at least 8 weeks' or 2 months' rent at the time your landlord gives you notice and at the time of the court hearing.
Ground 8 for rent arrears is a mandatory ground for possession (reason for eviction).
When the court can stop eviction by bailiffs
A court can stop eviction of private tenants by bailiffs only in limited situations.
These situations can include:
If you got a Section 21 notice but there was no court hearing
The court may cancel (set aside) a possession order because your landlord:
served an invalid section 21 notice and
applied to the court to use accelerated possession proceedings
Accelerated possession proceedings have no court hearing.
You will need to demonstrate that you could have challenged the validity of the section 21 notice if there had been a court hearing.
If you couldn't attend the original court hearing
The court can sometimes cancel a possession order if you couldn't attend the court hearing where the order was made.
You can apply for the court decision to be set aside (cancelled) if you:
had a good reason for missing the court hearing
applied to have the order set aside as soon as you found out the court had made the possession order
would have had a good chance of persuading the court not to make the possession order if you had been there
If suspending the bailiffs' warrant is reasonable
The court can suspend the bailiffs' warrant if it decides it is reasonable to do so.
The courts can only do this if you are being evicted on a discretionary ground.
Examples could include if your landlord took you to court because of:
damage to the property.
This is more likely to apply if you are:
There is usually a short hearing if the court decides to consider your application. This could be the same day that you apply.
If your landlord agrees to stop the bailiffs
If you've persuaded your landlord to let you stay in your home, you'll need to:
ask the landlord to withdraw their application for the bailiffs
ask your landlord to give you any agreement made in writing
attend the court if a hearing has already been arranged
Never assume the bailiffs won't come just because your landlord says you can stay.
Check with the court that the bailiffs' visit is cancelled.
Need more help?
If the court can't stop the eviction:
you will need to get your belongings back
talk to your council about help with housing
Last updated: 16 November 2022