Eviction of regulated tenants

You're likely to be a regulated or protected tenant if you pay rent to a private landlord and your tenancy started before 15 January 1989.

This applies even if you've had a new landlord during this time. For example, if the original landlord died or sold the property.

Regulated or protected tenants have stronger rights than most other private tenants.

Illegal eviction of regulated tenants

It is against the law for your landlord to try to evict you without getting a court order.

It is harassment if anyone pressures you into leaving your tenancy.

Get help to deal with harassment.

Find out more about illegal eviction.

The legal eviction process

If your landlord wants you to leave, they must:

  • apply to court

  • go to a possession hearing

  • prove a legal reason for eviction

The court can usually decide if it's reasonable for you to lose your home.

Notice from your landlord

Your landlord does not usually have to give you a notice before applying to court.

You still have strong tenancy rights and the court will not evict you without a reason.

Court papers

You will get several letters and forms from the court. Keep them together in a file.

This table shows the main documents you should get before a court hearing.

Letters receivedWhat this means
Claim and defence formsYour landlord has applied for a possession order
Notice of possession hearingThe court has arranged a hearing for you to attend

Where to get support and free legal advice

Get legal advice as soon as you get the claim and defence forms from the court.

You can often get free legal help if you're being evicted. There are different ways to do this.

Search for a local Shelter service.

Call the legal aid services number if we have a service in your area.

Call Civil Legal Advice on 0345 345 4 345 for telephone advice and casework.

Find other ways to get free legal advice.

Ask for help from your local council. They can give advice and practical help. Make sure the council know you have a regulated tenancy so they can give you the right support.

The hearing

You should go to the possession hearing.

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

Check the court paperwork carefully for details of how to contact the court duty scheme.

You can get free advice on the review date and at the possession hearing.

Discretionary grounds for eviction

The court decides if the ground is proved and if it is reasonable to order possession.

The court will take account of evidence provided by you and your landlord.

Discretionary grounds include:

  • rent arrears or breaking the tenancy agreement

  • damage to the property or any furniture that was provided

  • you have sublet your whole home without the landlord's consent

  • suitable alternative housing is available (for example, a secure council tenancy)

Sometimes the court can make a suspended possession order. This means that you can't be evicted as long as you keep to the conditions set by the court, for example by paying a certain amount each week towards your rent arrears.

Mandatory grounds for eviction

There are some situations where the court must order you to leave. These are known as mandatory grounds and are not common.

Your landlord can also get a possession order if they can show you no longer live there.

Eviction by bailiffs

This is the final stage of the eviction process.

You may still be able ask the court to stop or delay the eviction in some situations.

Last updated: 23 November 2022

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