Eviction of demoted housing association tenants

Coronavirus update:

You're entitled to at least 3 months' notice if you get a notice between 26 March and 30 September 2020.

The longer notice period won't apply if you got your notice before 26 March. But all further court action for eviction has been suspended for 90 days, so your landlord can't take things any further until at least the end of June.

Get advice

Get advice now if you have a demoted tenancy and you're facing eviction. This could be the last chance to keep your home.

You may qualify for legal aid (free legal advice or representation) if you're on a low income:

Call Civil Legal Advice on 0345 345 4 345 to see if you qualify

You can get advice from Shelter regardless of your income:

Call our emergency helpline for initial telephone advice

Look for a Shelter service in your area

Have your notice and court paperwork with you when you speak to an adviser.

Risk of eviction

If you have been involved in antisocial behaviour, your housing association can ask the court to downgrade your tenancy to an assured shorthold tenancy for 12 months.

Housing associations do this as an alternative to evicting you.

Demoting a tenancy makes it easier for you to be evicted if, for example:

  • the antisocial behaviour continues
  • you don't pay your rent or you break other conditions of your tenancy

How the housing association can evict you

The housing association must follow the correct legal procedure to evict you from a demoted tenancy.

1. Notice

The housing association must send you a section 21 notice.

The notice must:

The notice will be invalid if the housing association didn’t give you a gas safety certificate and energy performance certificate before they gave you the section 21 notice.

You do not have to leave when the notice period expires.

2. Court action

The housing association must apply to the court for a possession order if you stay after the end of the notice period.

They must start court action within 6 months of the date you received the section 21 notice.

The court will send you papers, including a defence form. The papers tell you which type of possession proceedings your landlord is using.

You should complete and return the defence form to the court if you want to challenge the eviction or ask for more time to stay.

A hearing date isn't automatically given if a landlord uses accelerated possession proceedings.

The court decides if a hearing is needed when it receives your landlord's claim and your defence form if you returned it. The court makes a decision by looking at the papers if there is no hearing.

If your landlord uses standard possession proceedings, you’re given a hearing date. You can attend the hearing even if you didn't return your defence form.

3. Court decision

The court can decide to:

  • dismiss the case if the section 21 isn’t valid
  • order you to leave if the notice is valid

If the case is dismissed, the housing association must start the eviction process again if they still want you to leave. You could still be ordered to pay any rent arrears the court agrees you owe if the housing association uses standard possession proceedings.

If the court orders you to leave, it usually gives you 2 weeks but can allow up to 6 weeks.

The court records its decision and any leaving date in a possession order.

4. Bailiffs

If you don't leave your home by the date given in a possession order, the housing association can apply to the court for eviction by bailiffs.

The court sends you a letter to let you know when the bailiffs are coming.

Your only chance of stopping the bailiffs at this stage is to persuade the housing association to stop them.

For example, if it wants to evict you because you owe rent you could contact the housing association with a realistic offer to clear the arrears.

Last updated 01 Oct 2018 | © Shelter

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