How to stop eviction by bailiffs

No evictions by bailiffs will take place until after 31 May except in very limited circumstances.

When an eviction can still take place

Evictions may still go ahead if your landlord has proved either:

  • antisocial behaviour

  • at least 6 months' rent arrears

The court must have already made a possession order and identified that the eviction can go ahead under the rules in place during lockdown. 

How you know the bailiffs are coming

Bailiffs must give you 2 weeks' notice of an eviction date.

The notice of eviction will be addressed to anyone named on the court order and 'any other occupiers'.

It will come in a sealed transparent envelope and should be posted through your letterbox or attached to the door.

Get urgent legal advice if you get a notice of eviction from the bailiffs

You can:

It helps if you have your notice and court paperwork ready when you speak to an adviser.

If you're self isolating or at higher risk from coronavirus

Even if the court says an eviction can go ahead, the bailiffs must not carry out the eviction if you or anyone in your household are either:

  • self isolating because you're symptomatic or have coronavirus

  • at higher risk because you're clinically extremely vulnerable

Check who's at higher risk on the NHS website.

Contact the court and the bailiffs and explain your symptoms or health conditions. The eviction should be postponed.

Get urgent legal advice if you're told the eviction is going ahead.

When the court can stop or delay the bailiffs

The court can't always stop an eviction going ahead.

It depends on the:

  • type of tenancy you have

  • the eviction process your landlord uses

Council or housing association tenants

If you have a secure or assured tenancy and you're facing eviction for rent arrears, use our guide to find out:

Find out when the the court can stop or delay the bailiffs if you're a:

Private tenants

The court can't usually stop or delay a section 21 eviction.

Section 21 evictions are on hold until after 31 May 2021 due to lockdown restrictions.

Find out when the court can stop the eviction of a private tenant.

Apply to court to stop the eviction

Use form N244 to ask the courts to:

  • stop the bailiffs

  • delay the bailiffs

  • make changes to your possession order

Fees and costs

You usually have to pay court fees but may be exempt if you claim certain benefits or have a low income.

See court leaflet EX160A for help with fees.

Ask the court to stop the bailiffs

Use form N244 to explain why you want the bailiffs' warrant suspended.

You'll need to show the court how things will change.

If you're being evicted for rent arrears or antisocial behaviour:

  • show how you will repay rent arrears from now on

  • explain how the antisocial behaviour has changed - for example, if a family member causing antisocial behaviour has left

You can't be evicted if the court suspends the bailiffs' warrant. You must keep to conditions such as repaying arrears

Ask for changes to your possession order

You can also use form N244 to ask the court to change the terms in your possession order.

You will need to do this at the same time that you apply to suspend the bailiff's warrant.

You can ask the court to:

  • set aside (cancel) the possession order

  • change the date you have to leave

  • change the conditions you must comply with (for example, the amount of arrears you repay in instalments)

The court doesn't always have the power to change the terms of the order

Negotiate with your landlord

Councils and housing associations sometimes agree to withdraw the bailiff's warrant.

They can do this if they accept that you will improve problems such as rent arrears or antisocial behaviour.

Keep negotiating with your landlord up to your eviction date.

It’s more difficult for private tenants to negotiate, but try if your circumstances have changed - for example, if you can now repay rent arrears.

If your landlord agrees to delay your eviction, make sure that you:

  • get any new agreement with your landlord in writing

  • check with the court that the bailiffs' visit is cancelled

Never assume the bailiffs won't come just because your landlord says you can stay.

If the bailiffs' visit isn't cancelled, you must apply to the court to stop the bailiffs

Attend the court hearing

If the court has the power to stop the bailiffs, a judge will hold a short hearing to decide if they should stop the bailiffs.

This is called an 'application hearing'. It could be on the same day that you return your N244 form to the court.

It's usually held in a private room at the court, but it could be a phone or video call because of coronavirus.

You should:

  • ask the court if there is a free legal advice service available

  • explain to the judge why it would be reasonable to stop or delay the eviction

  • take any evidence you have - for example, if you have a new job, explain that you can make arrears repayments from now on

Last updated: 10 March 2021

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