Eviction of introductory council tenants

Coronavirus update: You can't be evicted by bailiffs until after 31 May 2021 if you have an introductory tenancy.

Eviction from an introductory tenancy

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.

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

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

How the council can evict you

To evict you from an introductory tenancy, the council must follow these steps.

1. Send you written notice

The council must give you written notice that it intends to go to court to evict you.

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

The notice periods have been changed temporarily during the coronavirus outbreak.

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

When you were given noticeMinimum notice period
On or after 29 August 20206 months - if less than 6 months' rent arrears
4 weeks - if at least 6 months' rent arrears or antisocial behaviour
Between 26 March and 28 August 20203 months
Before 26 March 20204 weeks

2. Inform you of 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.

3. Start court proceedings

The council can only start court proceedings once the notice period has ended.

They must start court action before the end of your trial period.

If they don't, you'll automatically become a secure or flexible tenant and can't be evicted using this procedure.

When the council starts court action, the court sends you paperwork including a defence form to return within 14 days.

The council must send you a reactivation notice if they apply to court to restart a case that was on hold because of the coronavirus outbreak.

4. Ask the court for a possession order

New procedures mean that a judge will review your case, usually 4 weeks before a possession hearing.

You will get notice of the review date and the hearing.

The court must grant an outright possession order at a court hearing if the council has followed the correct process.

The court should not make a possession order if:

  • your notice is invalid

  • your tenancy became a secure or flexible tenancy before court action started

You can get legal help from a court duty adviser on the review date and at the hearing.

5. Ask bailiffs to evict you

The 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 a notice 2 weeks before you're due to be evicted.

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: 10 March 2021

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