Eviction of demoted housing association tenants

It's easy for a housing association to evict you if your tenancy is demoted because of antisocial behaviour.

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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 break other conditions of your tenancy, for example you don't pay your rent

How the housing association can evict you

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

1. Send the correct notice

The housing association must send you a section 21 notice.

If your tenancy with the housing association started before 1st October 2015, the section 21 notice must:

  • be in writing
  • be for a minimum of two months
  • expire on the last day of a period of your tenancy – this is usually the day before your rent is due

If your tenancy with the housing association started on or after 1st October 2015, the section 21 notice must also:

  • be on a special form
  • only be given to you after you've been given a copy of an energy performance certificate and a current gas safety record (if there's a gas supply in your home)

If your tenancy started on or after 1st October 2015, the notice doesn’t have to expire on the last day of a period of your tenancy.

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

2. Apply to court

The housing association must apply to the court for a possession order if you stay after the section 21 notice period expires.

The housing association must start court action within 6 months of the date you received the section 21 notice if your tenancy started on or after 1st October 2015.

There is no time limit for them to start court action if your tenancy started before 1st October 2015.

3. Court proceedings

The court will send you details of the date and address of a hearing, where it will decide what to do.

You’ll also receive a defence form – make sure you complete and return this within 14 days.

Unless the housing association has not followed the eviction procedure correctly, the court will usually make a possession order.

You’ll normally be given 14 days to move out.

The court can delay the date for up to 6 weeks but only if you will suffer exceptional hardship if you have to leave sooner. If you need a delay, you must ask the court.

Fast-track eviction process

The quickest way to be evicted is through the accelerated proceedings procedure after the section 21 notice expires. A court hearing is not needed here.

The court sends you a defence form to complete. You must return the form to the court within 14 days to tell the court if:

  • you think the section 21 notice is not valid
  • the housing association has not followed the correct procedure
  • you want to ask the court to postpone the possession order for up to 42 days

The court can only postpone the date that the possession takes effect in cases of exceptional hardship.

The housing association can't use accelerated possession proceedings if they are also asking the court to order you to pay rent arrears.

Eviction by 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 13 Apr 2017 | © Shelter

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