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:
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.
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 October 2021
Notice periods have returned to the same as before the pandemic.
You must be given at least 4 weeks' notice.
From 1 June until 30 September 2021
Most tenants were entitled to at least 4 months' notice.
But you could be given just 4 weeks' notice if you had at least 4 months' rent arrears or there was antisocial behaviour.
From 29 August 2020 until 31 May 2021
Most tenants were entitled to at least 6 months' notice.
But you could be given just 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.
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 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 don't start court action by the end of your trial period, you'll automatically become a secure or flexible tenant.
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: 30 September 2021