Eviction of introductory council tenants

When you're at risk of eviction

An introductory tenancy is a trial tenancy given to many new council tenants. The trial period usually lasts for 12 months.  

During your introductory tenancy you can be evicted more easily for things like:

  • rent arrears

  • antisocial behaviour 

The council won't have to prove the arrears or other breaches of your tenancy in court but they must still follow the correct legal process.

Breathing Space is a scheme that can help tenants with rent arrears. It pauses the eviction process for up to 60 days while you get debt advice.

Find out if you qualify for breathing space

The council must give you written notice

This notice - known as a section 128 notice - must set out:

  • the earliest date for court action

  • why the council wants to evict you

  • your right to request a review of the council's decision

How much notice you're entitled to depends on when the council gave you notice.

The notice rules have changed several times during coronavirus.

From 1 June until 31 July 2021

Most tenants are entitled to at least 4 months' notice.

But you can be given just 4 weeks' notice in the following situations:

ReasonMinimum notice period
4 months' rent arrears or more4 weeks
Antisocial behaviour4 weeks

From 29 August 2020 until 31 May 2021

Most tenants were entitled to at least 6 months' notice.

But you could be given 4 weeks' notice if you had at least 6 months' rent arrears or there was antisocial behaviour.

From 26 March until 28 August 2020

All tenants were entitled to at least 3 months' notice.

Get legal advice as soon as you can if you're facing eviction from an introductory tenancy.

Your right to ask for a review

You have 2 weeks from the date the notice is delivered to ask for a review.

This is your opportunity to tell the council why you shouldn't be evicted. You can either:

  • attend a review meeting, with or without an adviser present

  • set out your reasons in writing, including any relevant evidence

The council must tell you in writing whether it will let you keep your tenancy or go to court. If it decides to carry on and go to court, it must tell you the reasons why.

If the council starts court action

The council must start court action before the end of your trial period if they want to evict you using this process.

The council can only start court action after the notice period has ended.

The court sends you paperwork including a defence form to return within 14 days.

If the council don't start court action by the end of your trial period, you'll automatically become a secure or flexible tenant.

There's a different eviction process for secure tenants.

The review date

The court sends you a notice of review at least 3 weeks before the review date.

You don't need to attend court for the review but you should be available by phone.

A judge will check that all the court paperwork is in order.

What to do: get legal help on the day

Use the free court duty scheme.

The notice of review tells you how to contact a court duty adviser.

You should not agree to give up your home without speaking to an adviser.

The court hearing

The court sends you a notice of possession hearing.

It tells you:

  • the date and time

  • where it will happen

  • how to get free legal help on the day

It will usually be held at your local county court 4 weeks after the review.

Some hearings are being held online or by phone because of coronavirus. This should only happen if you agree to this.

What happens at the hearing

The court must usually make an eviction order if the council has followed the correct process.

The court should not make a possession order if:

  • there's something wrong with the notice

  • your tenancy has become a secure or flexible tenancy

What to do: always go to the hearing

You can attend even if you didn't return your defence form.

A court duty adviser can give you free legal help on the day.

You should still get legal advice before the hearing if you can.

Eviction by bailiffs

The court order sets a date for possession - usually 2 to 6 weeks after the hearing.

If you don’t leave by this date, the council can apply for bailiffs to carry out the eviction.

The bailiffs must send you 2 weeks' notice of an eviction date.

You can't usually ask the court to stop the bailiffs at this stage but you may still be able to persuade the council to stop the bailiffs if you can show things have improved.

For example, you could make a realistic proposal for paying off any rent arrears.

Last updated: 1 June 2021

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