Find out when landlords can take steps to evict assured tenants and the procedures that must be followed.
Are you an assured tenant?
You're probably an assured tenant if you rent from a housing association or private landlord and any of the following apply:
- you received written notice from your landlord that it's an assured tenancy
- you were an assured tenant with the same landlord immediately before your current tenancy started
- your original tenancy started between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997 and your landlord didn't give you a written agreement or notice that it was an assured shorthold tenancy
Many private tenants and some housing association tenants are assured shorthold tenants with fewer rights.
Rights in an assured tenancy
Assured tenants have strong tenancy rights. You can only be evicted if your landlord can prove a reason (or 'ground') to the court.
If the ground is proven, the court:
- has no choice but to make a possession order (a 'mandatory ground'), or
- only makes a possession order if it is reasonable to do so (a 'discretionary ground')
Get advice as soon as you can if you're facing eviction.
You may qualify for legal aid (free legal advice or representation) if you're on a low income:
You can get advice from Shelter regardless of your income:
Have your notice and court paperwork with you when you speak to an adviser.
Notice for assured tenants
Your landlord has to give you a written notice. It is often called a section 8 notice.
The notice must be in a special form.
The notice must include the ground on which your landlord is seeking possession. It must also state the earliest date that court action can start.
The notice has to be for a set length of time. It must let you know that after that time ends your landlord can apply to the court for a possession order. The length of time on the notice depends on the reason your landlord is evicting you. Usually this is either 14 days or 2 months.
When the reason for wanting to evict you is antisocial behaviour, the notice takes effect after 14 days, 4 weeks, 1 month or even immediately. The actual period depends on which ground is being used and whether you have a fixed-term tenancy or not.
Notices remain valid for one year. This means that your landlord can start court action to evict you at any time until exactly 12 months after the date the notice was served on you. If court action is not started within this time your landlord has to serve a new notice.
Reasons for eviction of assured tenants
The reasons (or 'grounds') that landlords can use to evict assured tenants are in 2 groups. These are 'mandatory grounds' and 'discretionary grounds'.
If your landlord is using a mandatory ground the court has no choice but to make a possession order if it is satisfied that the ground exists.
Examples of mandatory grounds include:
- more than 8 weeks' rent arrears owing, or two months if you pay your rent monthly, at the time the notice was served and at the date of the court hearing
- repossession by your landlord's mortgage lender (if prior notice of the possibility of this was given)
- redevelopment of the property
- antisocial behaviour, if the tenant (or a member of her/his household, or even a visitor in some cases) has already been convicted of antisocial behaviour in the courts
If your landlord is using a discretionary ground for possession the court only makes a possession order if the ground is proven and it is reasonable to do so.
Examples of discretionary grounds include:
- some rent arrears
- persistent late payment of rent
- breach of tenancy agreement
- antisocial behaviour
- damage to the property
Court orders for eviction of assured tenants
Once you have been given a correct notice and the notice period has ended, your landlord can apply to the county court for a possession order.
The court sends you documents telling you about your landlord's eviction claim.
You can send back information to help the court decide whether to make a possession order. You can also go to the court hearing.
If your landlord is using a mandatory ground and the court agrees that the ground is proven, the court has no choice but to make a possession order. It is possible to delay the possession order for up to 6 weeks, but only if you are suffering great hardship.
If your landlord is using a discretionary ground the court only makes a possession order if it is reasonable to do so. When the court looks at whether it is reasonable to make a possession order, it can consider your circumstances, such as your health and income.
It may be possible to get an eviction order changed.
Illegal eviction of assured tenants
Your landlord is breaking the law if they try to evict you without getting a court order. There might be action you can take to stop your landlord doing this.
The council might be able to help stop the illegal eviction.
Last updated 07 May 2015 | © Shelter
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