Eviction of introductory council tenants

An introductory tenancy is a trial council tenancy.

The trial period usually lasts for 12 months.  

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

  • rent arrears

  • antisocial behaviour 

The council does not 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 could get breathing space

The council must give you written notice

You must be given at least 4 weeks' notice.

The notice - called 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

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 chance to tell the council why you should not lose your home.

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 if they will let you keep your tenancy or go to court. The council must give you reasons if they decide to start court action after the review.

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 do not 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.

Councils must give advice on housing and try to prevent homelessness.

The homeless team should try to help you keep your home even if you're a council tenant.

Ask for help as soon as you get notice from the council.

The court hearing

The court should arrange the hearing when they send out the court documents.

Check the paperwork to find out:

  • when and where it will take place

  • how to get free legal help on the day

The hearing will usually be 3 to 8 weeks after you get the paperwork.

It will usually be held at your local county court. Some hearings are being held online or by phone because of coronavirus. This should only happen if you agree to this.

You should always attend or let the court know if there's a very good reason why you cannot. For example, sudden and serious ill health.

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 did not 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 do not 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 cannot 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: 16 November 2022

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