On 21st September courts start to deal with evictions again.
There is a backlog of cases and the eviction process takes time.
Get advice and legal help now
You are at risk of eviction by bailiffs if:
- a court ordered you to leave your home by a date that has passed
- you've broken conditions of a suspended order - for example, you haven't made rent arrears repayments
An adviser can help you assess your options.
Contact a Shelter adviser online, by phone or in person.
Have your notice and court paperwork ready when you contact an adviser.
How you know the bailiffs are coming
You usually know the bailiffs are coming because you receive a bailiff's notice of eviction from the county court.
Some landlords ask high court bailiffs to evict you. Your landlord should tell you they are doing this but some don't.
Get advice immediately if you are facing eviction by high court bailiffs
Check if the court can stop or delay the bailiffs
Find out if the court can stop or delay the bailiffs if you are a:
If you're a private tenant the courts can't usually stop a section 21 eviction.
Apply to stop eviction by bailiffs
- stop the bailiffs
- delay the bailiffs
- make changes to your possession order
Fees and costs
Ask the court to stop the bailiffs
- 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 will need to do this at the same time that you apply to suspend the bailiff's warrant.
- 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 even on the day of a court hearing.
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
The court can hold a short court hearing to decide whether to stop the bailiffs. This could be on the same day that you apply.
The hearing is usually held in a small private room.
- 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
The court won't set a hearing if it decides it doesn't have the power to stop the bailiffs.
Need more help?
If the court can't stop the eviction:
- you will need to get your belongings back
- find out if your council can help you with housing
Last updated 19 June 2020 | © Shelter
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