Reasons for eviction from a council tenancy

This page is for council tenants with a secure or flexible tenancy.

There are different rules for introductory tenants or demoted tenants.

The council can only end your tenancy if they prove a reason in court.

The reasons are called grounds for possession.

The council might also have to:

  • convince the court that it is reasonable to end your tenancy

  • offer you suitable housing to move into

The council must follow these rules to end your:

  • secure tenancy

  • flexible tenancy before the fixed term is up

There's a different process if the council do not want to renew your flexible tenancy.

Rent arrears

Not paying the rent is the most common reason for eviction from a council tenancy.

The council can try to end your tenancy if you:

  • owe a lot of rent

  • regularly fall behind with rent

  • do not pay service charges that are included in your rent

The council should try to resolve the problem with you before going to court. Your landlord should:

  • write to you about the rent you owe

  • try to reach a repayment agreement

  • offer other support if you need it

  • help you with your housing benefit or universal credit

The court can:

  • let you stay in your home even if you owe rent

  • order you to repay the arrears over time

Make sure you follow the court's instructions. You could be evicted if you do not.

Find out where to get help with rent and bills.

Breaking your tenancy agreement

The council can take you to court if you break a term in your tenancy agreement.

For example you:

Check your tenancy agreement to see what your rights and responsibilities are.

The court can let you stay in your home even you break your tenancy agreement.

But you could be evicted if you break it again.

Antisocial behaviour

The council can use different grounds for antisocial behaviour.

You could be evicted for antisocial or criminal behaviour if, for example:

  • you, your family or visitors to your home cause a nuisance in your neighbourhood

  • you use your home for illegal activities such as drug dealing

You also risk eviction if you:

  • are violent towards your spouse or partner and they leave home as a result

  • commit an offence during a riot anywhere in the UK

  • are involved in antisocial behaviour against the council's staff or contractors

The court can usually let you stay in your home if you make sure antisocial behaviour does not happen again.

The court cannot usually stop the eviction if the notice says they are seeking possession under section 83ZA, Housing Act 1985.

The council must show that you, a member of your household, or a visitor have:

  • been convicted of a serious offence

  • broken a criminal behaviour order

  • broken a court order in relation to serious noise nuisance

The council must write to you and tell you that you can ask for a review of the decision to evict you before they use this ground in court.

Get free legal advice.

Being asked to downsize after a tenant's death

The council might offer you a smaller home if the tenancy has more bedrooms than you need. For example, if your home has 3 bedrooms but you only need 1.

Councils sometimes call this 'under occupying'.

The council must offer you a suitable council or housing association tenancy if they want you to downsize. What's suitable depends on your housing needs.

The court will only order eviction if the council have made you a suitable offer.

The council can only ask you to downsize between 6 and 12 months after they find out about the tenant's death.

The council must offer you a suitable council or housing association tenancy if they want you to move. What's suitable depends on your housing needs.

The court will only order eviction if the council have made you a suitable offer.

The court will consider things like your:

  • age

  • how long you've lived there

  • why you think you should stay in the home or area

You do not need disability adaptions

The council could try to evict you if all these things are true:

  • your home has been designed or adapted for some who is physically disabled

  • no one living in your home needs these adaptions

  • the council need your home for someone who is physically disabled

The council should not use this reason if your home only has small adaptions, such as a ground floor toilet.

The council must offer you a suitable council or housing association tenancy if they want you to move out of an adapted property. What's suitable depends on your housing needs.

The court will only order eviction if the council have made you a suitable offer.

Not telling the truth on your housing register application

You could be evicted if you say something untrue and that leads to you being given the tenancy. For example, if you said you were homeless when you had somewhere to stay.

Demolition or major repairs

The court has to grant eviction if the council proves that they:

  • plan to demolish or rebuild your home

  • need to do major repairs that cannot be done while you live there and you refuse to move into temporary housing they offer

The council must offer you a suitable alternative property.

You could be entitled to a home loss payment.

You make your home overcrowded

The court has to grant eviction if you make your home statutorily overcrowded. For example, by taking in lodgers if there are not enough rooms.

The council cannot evict you if you are overcrowded because you have a large family.

You should apply for a transfer to a larger home.

You do not live in your home

The council can end your tenancy if you move out permanently.

You might be able to stop eviction if you move back in before the council's notice ends.

Always let the council know if you have to temporarily live somewhere else, for example because of work or education.


Last updated: 28 February 2024

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