Council and housing association tenants: eviction for antisocial behaviour
Most evictions are paused until after 21 February but an eviction can still take place if your landlord has proved either:
at least 6 months' rent arrears
The courts will continue to deal with cases during this time.
Get legal advice if you get any letters about eviction.
Antisocial behaviour in or around your home
Antisocial behaviour includes things like:
racist or homophobic abuse
causing a nuisance to your neighbours
threatening your landlord's staff or contractors
using your home for illegal purposes, such as drug dealing
a criminal conviction for a serious offence
breaching a criminal behaviour order
You could face eviction for antisocial behaviour caused by you, a household member or visitors to your home.
Complaints about your behaviour
Eviction should be a last resort.
Your council or housing association should:
discuss any complaints with you
give you a chance to stop the behaviour
offer mediation or tenancy support if this would help
What to do
You may be able to stop the eviction process going any further if you accept any support offered or agree to mediation.
You can ask to be referred to a community mental health team or drug and alcohol service if you think these issues are affecting your behaviour.
The eviction process
The courts are now dealing with evictions again after a pause due to coronavirus.
Cases involving antisocial behaviour will be dealt with sooner than other cases.
The 3 stages to the process are:
Most council and housing association tenants have secure or assured tenancies.
You get a 'notice seeking possession' if you have one of these tenancy types.
Read your notice carefully to understand:
the reasons for eviction
how soon court action could start
Read this information instead if you have a:
You get a different notice and can be evicted more easily with these types of tenancy.
Reasons for eviction
The legal reasons for eviction are called 'grounds for possession' on the notice.
The grounds are numbered. There are different grounds for secure and assured tenants.
Your landlord must prove a ground at a court hearing to get an eviction order.
How soon court action could start
Your notice contains a date after which your landlord can start court action.
The notice periods for antisocial behaviour depend on:
the grounds used
your tenancy type
when you were given notice
Between 26 March and 28 August 2020 you were entitled to at least 3 months' notice because of the coronavirus outbreak.
These tables show minimum notice periods from 29 August 2020, or before 26 March.
|Assured tenancy||Minimum notice period|
|Ground 14||None - court action can start as soon as you're given notice|
|Grounds 14A or 14ZA||2 weeks|
|Ground 7A||4 weeks - periodic tenancies|
|1 month - fixed term tenancies|
|Secure tenancy||Minimum notice period|
|Ground 2||None - court action can start as soon as you're given notice|
|Grounds 2A or 2ZA||4 weeks|
|Section 84A notice||4 weeks - periodic tenancies|
|1 month - fixed term tenancies|
How long the notice is valid for
The notice remains valid for 12 months so your landlord may still be able to apply to court even though the process has been on hold for several months.
2. Court action starts
Your landlord can apply for a possession order once the notice period has ended.
You will get several letters and forms from the court. Keep them together in a file.
This table shows the main documents you should get before a court hearing.
|Letters received||What this means|
|Claim and defence forms||Your landlord has applied for a possession order.|
|Reactivation notice||Your landlord has applied to restart the court process.|
|Notice of review||The court has scheduled a review date for your case|
|Notice of possession hearing||The court has arranged a hearing for you to attend.|
Claim and defence forms
Read the claim form carefully. Look for any mistakes or anything you disagree with.
Get legal help to complete and return the defence form within 2 weeks.
You will get a reactivation notice if your housing association or council applied for a possession order before 3 August 2020 and now wants to restart the process.
They must provide further information if they believe the court should prioritise your case for a review. For example, because of significant antisocial behaviour or very high rent arrears.
Get legal advice if you get a reactivation notice.
The review date
You will get a notice of review from the court at least 3 weeks before the review date.
You don't need to attend court on the review date.
At the review, a judge could:
set a date for a hearing - usually 4 weeks after the review
dismiss the claim - if there's been a procedural mistake by your landlord
give directions - to give you or your landlord more time to do something
The court hearing
A hearing will usually be at your local county court 4 weeks after the review date.
You will get a notice of possession hearing which tells you:
the time and date
how to get free legal help on the day from a court duty adviser
You should always attend or let the court know if there's a very good reason why you can't. For example, sudden or serious ill health.
Follow any guidance from the court on coronavirus safety measures.
What to do
Get free legal help before the review date or hearing.
Go to the hearing even if you haven't returned the defence form, or don't have a legal adviser with you.
You should be able to speak to a court duty adviser on the day if needed.
When the court could allow you to stay
The court could make a suspended possession order if the council or housing association proves a 'discretionary ground'.
A suspended order means you can stay in your home as long as you keep to the conditions in the order.
Common discretionary grounds are:
grounds 1 and 2 - secure tenants
grounds 10, 11 and 14 - assured housing association tenants
The court will probably order eviction if the antisocial behaviour is very serious and ongoing, or if a criminal offence has been committed.
What the court looks at
With a discretionary ground, the court looks at the effect of the behaviour on your neighbours and employees of the council or housing association.
You may be able to keep your home if you can show that the behaviour has already stopped or will stop immediately.
For example, if the behaviour was caused by:
mental health or drug and alcohol problems - and you now get support
someone else in your home - and you can show they no longer live there or visit
If your landlord also uses a rent arrears ground, the court will look at the level of arrears and if you have come to a repayment agreement.
When the court must order eviction for antisocial behaviour
The court must make an outright possession order if the council or housing association prove a 'mandatory antisocial behaviour ground'.
The order sets a date for you to leave your home.
Your landlord is using a mandatory antisocial behaviour ground if your notice:
lists Ground 7A and you have an assured tenancy
states the court will be asked to make an order under section 84A and you have a secure tenancy
These grounds can only be used in specific situations. For example, if you've been convicted of certain offences in the local area.
When the court must order eviction for rent arrears
If you're an assured tenant, your housing association might use ground 8 for serious rent arrears.
The court must make an outright possession order if you have at least 8 weeks' arrears both:
when you're given notice
at the time of the hearing
Try to get your arrears below 8 weeks by the time of the hearing.
Your case is likely to be dealt with sooner by the courts if you're also facing eviction for antisocial behaviour.
3. Eviction by bailiffs
The council or housing association can ask bailiffs to evict you if you:
break the conditions in a suspended order
stay in your home past the date in an outright order
They must apply for an eviction warrant.
The bailiffs give you at least 2 weeks' notice of the eviction date.
What to do
If the eviction order was made on a discretionary ground you could still ask the court to stop the eviction at this late stage.
Get legal advice before you apply. The court might not be willing to stop the eviction if there is ongoing evidence of antisocial behaviour.
Find out what happens if the eviction goes ahead.
Help from the council after eviction
Ask the council for help if you will be homeless following an eviction.
You can do this even if you're being evicted from a council tenancy.
The council may decide you're intentionally homeless. But this doesn't mean they don't have to help at all.
You may qualify for emergency housing if you have children, are pregnant or have another priority need.
You're also entitled to a personal housing plan to help you find a new home.
Last updated: 8 January 2021