Council and housing association tenants: eviction for antisocial behaviour

Coronavirus update

From 21 September the courts start to deal with evictions again.

Cases involving antisocial behaviour will be dealt with sooner than other cases.

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

Antisocial behaviour in or around your home

Antisocial behaviour includes things like:

  • causing a nuisance to your neighbours
  • threatening your landlord's staff or contractors
  • using your home for illegal purposes, such as drug dealing
  • being convicted of 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.

How your landlord should deal with reported antisocial 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

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.

You may be able to stop the eviction process going any further if you accept any support offered or agree to mediation.

The eviction process

The 3 stages to the process are:

  1. Notice from your council or housing association
  2. A court hearing which you should attend
  3. Eviction by bailiffs if the court orders this

From 21 September 2020 the courts start to deal with evictions again after a pause due to the coronavirus outbreak.

1. Your notice

You get a 'notice seeking possession' if you're a secure or assured tenant.

What to do

Check your notice carefully to understand:

  • the reasons for eviction
  • how soon court action could start

Contact your council or housing association if you disagree with any of the information.

Get free legal advice on your next steps.

Reasons for eviction

The legal reasons for eviction are called 'grounds for possession' on the notice.

The council or housing association must prove a ground at a court hearing to get an eviction order.

The grounds are numbered. There are different grounds depending on whether you have a secure or assured tenancy.

Notice periods for antisocial behaviour

Between 26 March and 28 August 2020 most tenants were entitled to at least 3 months' notice.

This was a temporary change due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The tables show the minimum notice period before or after these dates.

How much notice you're entitled to depends on the type of tenancy you have and which antisocial behaviour grounds are used.

Assured tenancies Notice before 26 March and from 29 August 2020
Ground 7A 4 weeks - periodic tenancies
1 month - fixed term tenancies
Ground 14 None - the housing association can apply to court immediately
Grounds 14A or 14ZA 2 weeks
Secure tenancies Notice before 26 March and from 29 August 2020
Ground 2 None - the council or housing association can apply to court immediately
Grounds 2A or 2ZA 4 weeks
Section 84A notice 4 weeks - periodic tenancies
1 month - fixed term tenancies

Other types of tenancy

The council or housing association don't have to prove a legal reason for eviction for some types of tenancy.

Find out more about the eviction process if you have a:

2. The court process

The council or housing association can normally apply to court as soon as the date in your notice has passed.

You get the following paperwork from the court:

  • claim form - with full details of why they're taking action
  • defence form - for you to complete and return within 14 days 

What to do

Get free legal help before the hearing.

Go to the hearing even if you haven't returned the defence form or don't have a legal adviser with you.

The court hearing

The council or housing association must prove any grounds for possession at the hearing.

A judge decides what happens next.

You get at least 3 weeks' notice of the hearing date. It might be on the claim form or the court may write to you separately with the date.

When the court could allow you to stay

If your landlord proves a 'discretionary ground', the judge could let you can stay in your home if you keep to certain conditions.

Common discretionary grounds are:

  • grounds 1 and 2 - secure tenants
  • grounds 10, 11 and 14 - assured housing association tenants

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.

The court could make a suspended possession order that allows you to stay in your home if you keep to the conditions in the order.

The court will probably order eviction if the antisocial behaviour is very serious and ongoing, or if a criminal offence has been committed.

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 will probably say 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 11 September 2020 | © Shelter

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