Section 21 eviction
Council help after a section 21
You can make a homeless application as soon as you get a section 21 notice.
The council must take steps to stop you becoming homeless if:
you meet immigration conditions
the notice is valid and ends in less than 8 weeks
You will also get a personal housing plan. This explains how the council should help and what you need to do.
Help to check if your notice is valid
Your landlord needs to give you a valid section 21 notice to evict you.
Some landlords make mistakes with eviction notices. Bad landlords and letting agents might give you a section 21 notices with the wrong timings to try to make you leave early.
If your eviction notice is valid
A housing officer will usually try to talk your landlord to find out:
why you were given notice
what the landlord plans to do
if the eviction can be stopped
If your eviction notice is not valid
The council might say your landlord has to give you a valid notice before they can help you.
But they should look at other things that could mean you cannot stay in your home.
Tell the council if, for example:
you cannot afford the rent
you are at risk of harassment, abuse or violence
there are bad conditions and overcrowding in your home
Help to stay in your home
The council could help with:
a grant or loan to clear rent arrears
discretionary housing payments (DHP) to help with rent
If you have a disability or support needs
You may need help to find a certain type of home. For example, an adapted property or supported housing.
The council should also decide if you have a priority need for housing. This means the council must provide suitable housing if you become homeless.
You might need to show proof like a letter from your doctor.
The council should help to find you a suitable home before you have to leave where you are now. They should not tell you they cannot help until the eviction date.
If you cannot stay in your home
The council might say you need to wait for bailiffs to evict you unless you are at risk of harm.
Tell them if you do not think you can stay. For example, if:
there are repairs problems that make it unsafe
the cost of eviction through the court would cause you serious money problems
you cannot afford rent without cutting back on food or other essentials
Find out more about emergency housing and who can get it.
Do not give up your tenancy if you have nowhere to go
The council could decide you're intentionally homeless if you leave when they think you could stay.
You can remind your housing officer of the homelessness code of guidance if you qualify for emergency housing. Tell them to read paragraphs 6.29-6.38.
You could get legal help if the council makes you wait for the bailiffs.
Help if your landlord starts court action
The council should:
review your personal housing plan
keep in contact with you and the landlord
You may have to pay the costs of court action.
GOV.UK explains how you can get help paying court and tribunal fees.
Last updated: 4 September 2023