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Being evicted by the council or housing association

When you take on a tenancy with the council and move into a council home there may be reasons the council will feel the need to evict you. This means that your tenancy will come to an end and you will have to leave the property. In some cases it is possible to delay or prevent the eviction by appealing to the council, but it is not commonly achieved.

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In this article

  • How the eviction process works if the council or housing association decides they want you to leave their property
  • The steps you can take if you want to appeal the eviction notice
  • What the outcomes might be should the council seek a possession order via the courts

The eviction process

Much depends on the type of tenancy you have, but generally the process of eviction unfolds like this:

  • The council or housing association will notify you in writing of their plans to evict you and give you a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice (in some cases it is two months)
  • They must also inform you of the reasons why you are being evicted
  • Proceedings can begin immediately if you are deemed guilty of serious anti-social behaviour such as drug dealing or if you have been the perpetrator of domestic violence
  • If you fail to come to an agreement on leaving or you refuse to vacate the property the council or housing association will apply to the court for a possession order
  • The court will decide if you are to be evicted
  • If you still refuse to leave the bailiffs will be called upon to remove you and your belongings

TTV advises all tenants facing eviction to respond as quickly as possible, stating your reasons for opposing the eviction, and request that the council or housing association reconsiders their decision. The sooner you reply, the better your chances of getting them to rethink the eviction. Ignoring the eviction notice will not do you any favours. You can use the TTV letter template [requires link to “Appeal letter against eviction”]  to write to the council if you wish.

You are being evicted by the council or housing association because you owe rent

If the council or housing association has decided to evict you because you are behind with your rent, then they must have followed a certain set of procedures, known as the ‘Pre-Action Protocol’.  They must:

  • Make contact with you to discuss the reasons you are behind with your rent
  • Provide detailed information about the arrears
  • Offer to help you make a housing benefit claim if you need it
  • Agree to postpone court action if you can come up with a reasonable offer to tackle the rent arrears issue

If court action takes place

  • You will be issued with official papers confirming the date of the hearing
  • You will have a chance to put your case forward to the court at the hearing

The possible outcomes

  1. The court will give the council or housing association permission to evict you by granting a ‘possession order’
  2. The court will decide that the council or housing association is not justified in evicting you and the eviction will be halted
  3. The court will suspend or postpone granting the possession order giving you a last chance to prove your case

What happens next?

If the court decides you can be evicted, then the possession order will give details about the date you must leave the property.

If you refuse to leave the council or housing association will request the court to authorise a bailiff to remove you and your belongings. You will be notified of their arrival.

If your circumstances are dire the council might provide you with temporary housing while you try to find somewhere else to live. This might take the form of emergency accommodation such as a hostel or B&B.

Where to go for further help and advice

TTV suggests if you are concerned about being evicted, you can go to Shelter’s website and use their emergency housing rights checker tool that shows whether you may get help with crisis housing. You can also get advice from Citizens Advice.

In summary

  • As a tenant of a council home you may find yourself subject to an eviction notice
  • The council or housing association must notify you in writing and give you the reason(s) why they have decided to evict you
  • You should respond immediately and make a case for the council or housing association to withdraw the eviction notice
  • The council or housing association must get a ‘possession order’ from a court of law to enforce eviction
  • If you refuse to abide by the notice the council has the right to ask the court to instruct bailiffs to remove you and your belongings from the property

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This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. The Tenants' Voice does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.

We advise all tenants to act respectfully with their landlords and letting agents and seek a peaceful resolution to problems with their rented property. For more information, explore the articles in our All advice category.

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