Eviction of introductory council tenants

Coronavirus update: evictions are on hold

All court action for eviction has been put on hold until at least 25 June.

Your landlord can't get a court order to evict you until after that date.

Where to get advice

Get advice now if the council gives you notice to leave an introductory tenancy.

If the case gets to court, the court can't usually prevent an eviction so it's important to get advice early.

You may qualify for free advice or representation through legal aid 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.

Reasons you could be evicted

Introductory tenancies give new tenants a trial period in a council home.

It is easy to be evicted from this type of tenancy. The council doesn't have to prove a legal reason to a court for you to be evicted.

Common reasons for eviction include:

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 say:

  • why the council wants to evict you
  • that you have the right to request a review of the council's decision to evict you

You  get 3 months if you are given a notice on or after 26 March 2020.

The notice period was at least 4 weeks if you were given a notice before 26 March. 

2. Inform you of your right to ask for a review

You have 14 days 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 hearing, 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 after the notice period has expired.

The council applies to the court to ask for a possession order.

The court will then send you a:

  • form telling you the time and date of the court hearing
  • defence form for you to complete and return to the court within 14 days

Court action for eviction is on hold until at least 25 June. Your council can't get a court order to evict you until after this date. 

4. Ask the court for a possession order

The court will grant a possession order giving you 14 days to leave your accommodation, unless there are exceptional circumstances or the council did not follow the correct steps.

You can ask the court to delay this for up to 6 weeks if having to move out sooner will leave you facing exceptional hardship.

5. Ask bailiffs to evict you

If you don’t leave your home, the council can apply to have you evicted by bailiffs.

The court sends you a letter to let you know when the bailiffs are coming.

Your best chance of stopping the bailiffs at this stage is to contact the council and try to persuade it that your situation will improve.

For example, you can make a realistic proposal for how you can pay off any rent arrears.

Last updated 11 May 2020 | © Shelter

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