How to stop eviction by bailiffs
The notice of eviction
Bailiffs must give you at least 2 weeks' notice of an eviction date.
The notice of eviction is addressed to:
anyone named on the court order
any other occupiers
It comes in a sealed transparent envelope. It should be posted through your letterbox or attached to your door.
Check if the court can stop or delay the bailiffs
The court cannot always stop an eviction at this stage. It depends on:
your tenancy type
the eviction process your landlord uses
Most private evictions cannot be stopped or delayed unless there has been a problem with the notice or the legal process. For example:
section 21 evictions
section 8 evictions on ground 8 (at least 2 months' rent arrears)
Council or housing association tenants
The court can stop or delay an eviction in some situations.
Speak to your landlord
Councils and housing associations should only evict their tenants as a last resort.
For example, they might withdraw an eviction application if they accept that rent arrears can be repaid or antisocial behaviour will stop.
It’s harder for private tenants to negotiate, but try if your situation has changed and you want to stay. For example, if you can now repay rent arrears.
Most private landlords will want the eviction to go ahead if it has got to this stage.
If your landlord says you can stay, make sure that you:
get any new agreement with your landlord in writing
check with the court that the eviction has been cancelled
Do not assume the bailiffs will not come just because your landlord says you can stay.
If the bailiffs' visit is not cancelled, you must apply to the court to stop the bailiffs.
How to ask the court to stop your eviction
There are 3 steps to this process:
Fill in Form N244
Return it to the court
Attend a short hearing where the judge decides what happens
It costs £14 to apply. You could get help with court fees if you have a low income.
1. Use the N244 court form
Form N244 is available on GOV.UK and from the court.
It's also called an 'application notice'. You can either:
complete it online and print it out
fill in a paper form at the court
What to write on the form
If a judge can stop or delay the eviction, they need a reason to do this.
The evidence box on the form is very small. You can continue on a separate piece of paper. Keep it brief and factual. Use short sentences and numbered paragraphs.
For example, if you have rent arrears you need to explain:
why you have rent arrears
what you've done to sort this out
how you can pay your rent in the future
your plan to pay off the arrears in instalments
If you have broken the terms of an agreed repayment plan or suspended possession order, explain why this happened. For example, an unexpected underpayment of benefits or wages.
Include evidence of your income, spending and other debts.
2. Return the form to the court
It's best to return the form at least 3 days before the eviction date.
Tell your landlord that you've applied to stop the eviction.
You can apply to court even on the eviction date but it's very risky to leave it this late.
Phone the bailiffs first thing and tell them you've applied. If you do not, the eviction could happen while you're at court.
3. Attend the application hearing
The court will give you an appointment for an 'application hearing'.
This could be on the same day as you return the form if bailiffs are due in the next few days.
You should go in person unless everyone agrees to a remote hearing by phone or video.
If you do not attend, your application will be dismissed and the eviction can go ahead.
What to take
Take any evidence that shows you can pay your full rent and reduce your arrears.
letters about benefits
a job offer from an employer
bank statements showing recent payments
You're expected to pay a reasonable regular payment that you can afford.
The court can set arrears repayments as low as £3.70 a week if you're not working or have a very low income.
What happens at the hearing
The hearing usually lasts about 10 minutes.
Arrive before the appointment and ask if a court duty adviser can help you.
A judge could either:
decide that the eviction should go ahead
suspend the eviction - for example, if you can pay off rent arrears in instalments
If the judge stops the eviction
You can stay in your home and the bailiffs' visit will be cancelled.
You need to meet the conditions if an eviction warrant is suspended.
For example: pay your rent and reduce your arrears on the terms set by the court.
If you break the terms of a suspended warrant at a later date, your landlord can ask the bailiffs to evict you.
It's possible to ask a court to suspend a warrant more than once.
But the more times you break the terms of a warrant, the less likely it is that a judge will accept that it's reasonable for you to stay in your home.
Last updated: 26 October 2022