Eviction of introductory council tenants

Coronavirus update: evictions are on hold

Court action for eviction is on hold until at least 23 August.

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

Use the time to sort out problems with rent arrears or antisocial behaviour.

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 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' notice if you're given a notice on or after 26 March 2020.

Before this date, the notice period was at least 4 weeks. 

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 23 August. 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 08 June 2020 | © Shelter

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