Eviction in prohibited conduct standard contracts

Eviction: prohibited conduct standard contracts

  • Prohibited conduct standard contract-holders can be evicted quite easily
  • Your landlord must serve you notice and get a court order to evict you
  • Getting help at an early stage can help you keep your home

If you are a prohibited conduct standard contract-holder, your landlord doesn’t have to prove a legal reason to evict you. They must follow the correct procedure and get a court order.

The 3 steps to eviction

Step 1: Notice  

Your landlord must first give you written notice. The notice must specify how long before they can start court action.  

Step 2: Court action 

Before starting court action community landlords must also follow rules set out in a special pre-action protocol. If you think your landlord has not followed the pre-action protocol, get advice.   

Step 3: Bailiff 

If you have not left on the date the possession order says you should, the landlord must then arrange for a county court bailiff to evict you. You can only be evicted by bailiffs with an eviction warrant. If anyone tries to force you to leave your home without following this process, it is likely to be an illegal eviction.

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Grounds for eviction: ‘absolute grounds’ 

Your landlord may be able to end your prohibited conduct standard contract using ‘absolute grounds’. These are sometimes referred as ‘mandatory grounds’. This means that if the landlord follows the correct procedure the court has to grant a possession order. These grounds are: 

  • ‘no fault’ eviction (known as a section 173’ notice) 
  • serious rent arrears of 2 months or more (known as a ‘section 181’ notice).

You should check your contract to see if it allows the landlord to give you a ‘no fault’ or a serious rent arrears notice. If it doesn’t, then the landlord can’t end your contract using these grounds. 

Restrictions on using the ‘no fault’ notice procedure

Your landlord cannot give you a ‘no fault’ (or section 173) if: 

  • you’ve not received a written contract within 14 days of the contract starting. Your landlord can’t give you a ‘no fault’ notice until 6 months after providing the written contract 
  • you’ve not received an address that you can send correspondence to  
  • you’ve not been given a valid energy performance certificate (EPC) 
  • your landlord hasn’t provided working smoke and (where needed) carbon monoxide alarms in your home 
  • your landlord hasn’t provided a current electrical installation condition report (EICR) 
  • your landlord hasn’t provided a current gas safety report 
  • a previous possession claim was thrown out by the court less than 6 months ago as it was a retaliatory eviction. This means that the landlord was trying to evict you to avoid doing repairs or making the property fit to live in. 
  • it is less than 6 months since a ‘no fault’ notice was withdrawn by the landlord (unless the new notice was given within 28 days of the withdrawn notice) 

If you have received a ‘no fault’ notice and any of the above apply, then get help.

PLEASE NOTE these restrictions may not apply, or may apply differently, if you have a converted prohibited conduct standard contract. 

How much notice will I get?

‘No fault’ notice  

If your landlord is evicting you using the ‘no fault’ eviction procedure (section 173), you should get 2 months’ notice. Court action can only begin after the notice period has ended.  

After giving you a ‘no fault’ notice your landlord has 2 months after the end of the notice period to begin court action. If the landlord doesn’t make a possession claim within those 2 months, then they cannot give you another ‘no fault’ notice for a further 6 months. 

If you moved in before 1 December 2022 and have a converted prohibited conduct standard contract and you don’t receive a written contract by 1 June 2023 your landlord can’t give you a ‘no fault’ section 173 notice until 6 months after they provide the written contract. 

 Serious rent arrears notice  

If your landlord is evicting you because of serious rent arrears your landlord can begin court action after 1 months’ notice. 

After giving you notice your landlord has 6 months to begin court action.  

The right to ask for a review of the landlord’s decision to give you notice

If your landlord gives you a ‘no fault’ eviction notice or a serious rent arrears eviction notice you can ask them to review their decision to evict you. You should be informed of the right to request a review in the notice. The court may decide to dismiss the landlord’s possession claim if the notice does not inform you of the right to ask your landlord to review their decision to evict you. 

You should request a review in writing within 14 days of receiving the notice. For more information, please see requesting a review of a community landlord’s decision 

How the court makes a decision

‘No fault’ (section 173) eviction 

If your landlord is using the ‘no fault’ procedure, then the court must grant a possession order to the landlord providing they have followed the procedure and given you all the required information when you moved in.  

If you think the landlord is evicting you rather than carrying out repairs or ensuring your home is fit to live in, the court may decide it is not reasonable to allow your landlord to evict you. This is known as retaliatory eviction. Your landlord can’t give you a ‘no fault’ notice for 6 months following the court’s decision to dismiss the claim for this reason.  

You may not be given a hearing if the landlord is using the ‘no fault’ eviction procedure. However, the court papers you receive should give you the opportunity to say if you don’t think the landlord has followed the correct notice procedure, the pre-action protocol, or if you think it’s a retaliatory eviction. Depending on the circumstances, the court may then decide a hearing is appropriate.

Serious rent arrears 

If your landlord is evicting you for serious rent arrears, the court has to grant a possession order if you are in 2 months arrears on the day you were given notice and on the day of the hearing. If you are not in serious rent arrears on one of these days the court may decide not to evict you.  

If your landlord applies to court, the papers you receive from the court should give you the opportunity to say if you don’t think the landlord has followed the correct notice procedure, or the pre-action protocol. You can also notify the court if you think there has been a mistake in calculating rent arrears or if there are issues with claiming housing benefit or universal credit.  

For information about the different decisions the court can make, see here. 

Asking the county court to review the decision to evict you

In some circumstances you can ask the county court to review the decision to evict you after court action has started. This applies if: 

  • you have a prohibited conduct standard contract and are being evicted using the ‘no fault’ procedure 
  • you have a prohibited conduct standard contract and are being evicted for serious rent arrears 

You can ask for a county court review even if the landlord has already reviewed the decision to give notice (see above). 

Get help if you want to do this. County court reviews use the principles of ‘judicial review’ and can be complicated.   

For more information about what to expect during the court process, click here. 

Grounds for eviction: ‘discretionary grounds’ 

In some circumstances your landlord might choose to evict you using specific reasons. These reasons are known as ‘discretionary’ grounds. There are 2 types of discretionary grounds:    

Breach of contract 

If you have broken any terms of your contract, your landlord might be able to evict you. Breaches of contract could include: 

  • rent arrears (you may be able to get debt advice from the ‘Breathing space’ scheme) 
  • subletting part or all of the property without permission 
  • behaving antisocially

Estate management grounds 

Examples of estate management grounds include: 

  • if the landlord is carrying out building or redevelopment work 
  • if the property is specially adapted and is needed to house someone with needs suited to the property 

How much notice will I get?

If your landlord is evicting you for breach of contract or estate management grounds, you will usually get 1 months’ notice before your landlord can start court action.  

However, if the landlord is evicting you for antisocial behaviour they can begin court action as soon as they have given you notice. 

If your landlord is evicting you because you have inherited the contract and the home is larger than you need, then they cannot serve notice until 6 months after they found out about the death of the contract-holder. Once 12 months have passed they cannot give notice using this ground. 

If your landlord is evicting you because a joint contract-holder has left the contract and the home is larger than you need, they must serve notice within 6 months of the joint contract-holder leaving the contract. 

After giving you notice your landlord has 6 months to begin court action. 

 Always get help if you receive a notice. An adviser can check if the notice is correct and may be able to help you keep your home. 

How the court makes a decision

If your landlord is evicting you using a ‘ground’, the court can only decide to evict you if the landlord proves the ground and it is reasonable to evict you. If the ground is an estate management ground, then the landlord must also show the court that they are making suitable alternative accommodation available for you. For information about the different decisions the court can make, see here. 

Get help if you are facing eviction 

Get help now if you’re facing eviction. An adviser can check if the notice is correct and may be able to help you negotiate with your landlord or represent you in court. Have the papers you received from the court or your landlord with you when you speak to an adviser. 

If you are at risk of losing your home you should contact your local council to make a homelessness application. 

Preventing eviction

Preventing eviction

  • The council’s homelessness team might be able to help prevent you from being evicted
  • Getting advice as soon as you can might help you keep your home

If your landlord has asked you to leave, get help as soon as you can. With the right advice you might be able to prevent the eviction so that you can continue to stay in your home, or delay things to give you more time to find somewhere else. An adviser can deal with court papers, and may be able to represent you in court. 

Eviction because of rent arrears 

Paying your rent should be your top priority. If you fall into rent arrears you are at risk of being evicted. 

If you have rent arrears you may be eligible for the Breathing space scheme which gives you time to get some specialist debt advice without having to worry about legal action being taken against you. 

If your arrears are because of delays in your housing benefit or universal credit claim, you should let your landlord know. Make sure you have given all the information the council or Jobcentre needs to process your claim, and keep a note of any contact you have if you are trying to chase things up. 

If you are not expecting housing benefit or universal credit to cover the rent arrears, you should make an arrangement to clear the arrears. Make sure that this is affordable and that you can keep to the arrangement. If you can prove that you can stick to the arrangement, you are far less likely to be evicted. 

If your housing benefit or universal credit housing costs do not cover all of your rent, you can apply for a discretionary housing payment from the council. 

If you are under 25, take a look at our advice about rent arrears. 

Eviction because of anti-social behaviour 

Your landlord may want to evict you because they believe that you, or someone living with you or visiting you, has been acting in an antisocial way or has been disturbing, upsetting, annoying or harassing neighbours. If you are a joint contract-holder, your landlord can end your right to live in the property if they believe you are causing the anti-social behaviour.  

Talk to your landlord. Perhaps your neighbours have been complaining unreasonably about your behaviour. Or perhaps you could go to mediation to sort out your problems. 

If you admit that there has been anti-social behaviour, you should do everything you can to make sure it stops. You will want to show your landlord and, if your case goes to court, the judge, that the problems have stopped. 

Eviction because of neglecting or damaging the property 

Your landlord may want to evict you because you haven’t been taking good care of the property. 

If you are having difficulty looking after the property because of health reasons, you should explain this to your landlord. They may be able to put you in touch with someone who can help you look after the property. Or you can contact the council’s social services department, which may be able to carry out a ‘needs assessment‘ and arrange for you to get some help. 

If you have damaged the property, you could repair the damage or offer to pay for the repairs. Only try repairing something yourself if you know what you are doing. If you make the damage worse you will only annoy your landlord even more. 

If you have just neglected the issues, this could be the prompt that you need. Get it sorted and prove that you can keep the place in good condition. 

Eviction if you’ve been away from your home 

If you are going to be away from your home it is always best to let your landlord know, and to make sure the landlord can contact you. It is likely to be a supplementary term of your contract to inform the landlord if you are going away for 28 days or more. 

If you are away from your home for a long time your landlord might think that you no longer live there and can evict you using the abandonment procedure. This procedure can only be used by the landlord if your contract states that you must live there as your ‘only or principal home’. If you are living in your home, you may be able to prove this by showing your utility bills, such as gas or electricity.

Joint contract-holders 

If you are a joint contract-holder, your landlord can also end your rights to occupy the property if they think you no longer live there. This process is similar to the abandonment procedure mentioned above, and can only be used if your contract states that you must live there as your ‘only or principal home’. 

Other joint-contract-holders may also be able to end your right to occupy the property if they think you no longer live there and your contract states that you must live there as your ‘only or principal home’. 

Another joint contract-holder can only do this by getting a court order. Another joint contract-holder can only do this by getting a court order.

The court can’t grant an order ending your rights to live there if another person has caused you to stay away from the property through anti-social behaviour. Anti-social behaviour can include behaving violently, making threats or other forms of domestic abuse. 

Eviction by your partner 

If you are living with a partner, civil partner or spouse, they may try to evict you from your home if you split up. However, they may not have the right to do this and you may be able to prevent this from happening. The section on relationship breakdown explains your rights. 

If you have to leave 

If there is nothing you can do to stop yourself being evicted, you will have to look for somewhere else to live. Have a look at our Finding a place to live pages which will help you think about your options. 

If you are about to become homeless, you might be able to get help from the council. The council has a legal duty to provide advice and assistance to people who are threatened with homelessness.  Click here for more information on how the council can help you if you are threatened with homelessness. 

Accommodation options chart

Eviction by the bailiff

Eviction by the bailiff


The third, and final, step in the eviction process is for your landlord to arrange for court bailiffs to evict you.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

The ban on bailiffs in Wales carrying out evictions during the Covid-19 pandemic has ended.

Bailiffs are now able to evict you from your home regardless of the reason for eviction.

If you receive a letter telling you that a court bailiff will be evicting you then get advice urgently. It might not be too late to stop or delay the eviction.

The 3 steps to eviction



When can my landlord get a bailiff to evict me?


If :

  • you haven’t left the property by the date in the possession order, or
  • you haven’t kept to the terms of a suspended possession order

your landlord can apply to the court to arrange for court bailiffs to come and evict you. This is called applying for an ‘Eviction Warrant’.

An eviction warrant allows bailiffs to physically remove you and your belongings from the property.


How will I know if the bailiffs are coming?


If your landlord applies to the court for an eviction warrant, you will receive a letter from the court called a Notice of Eviction.

The notice will tell you the date and time the bailiffs will arrive. This might be in 1 or 2 weeks but sometimes might be sooner.

No-one other than a bailiff acting for the county court is allowed to remove you from the accommodation. If anyone else attempts to do this, they are likely to be guilty of illegal eviction, which is a serious offence. Contact Shelter Cymru straight away if this happens to you.


What should I do if I receive a Notice of Eviction?


Get specialist advice immediately.  If you don’t do anything, the eviction will go ahead.

An adviser can tell you:

  • whether you might be able to stop or delay the bailiffs
  • what your other housing options are.

The sooner you act the more chance you have to keep your home or find somewhere else to go before the bailiffs arrive. Have the papers you received from the court with you when you speak to an adviser.

If you are threatened with homelessness you could also contact your local council. They may have a duty to help you keep your home or help you to secure other accommodation. See our pages on Help from the Council for more information.


Can I stop or delay the bailiffs?


Whether you can stop or delay the eviction will depend on the type of tenancy you have and the reason your landlord obtained a possession order.

You have to apply to court to stop or delay an eviction using court form N244. Make sure you send in copies of any documents which help to explain why you want the eviction suspended. You’ll need to show the court how things will change. For example :

  • show how you will pay any rent arrears from now on, or
  • explain how the antisocial behaviour has changed – for example, if a family member causing the behaviour has left.

You will have to pay a fee for your application. You can apply for an exemption or a reduced fee if you get certain benefits or have a low income.

A Shelter Cymru adviser can help you complete the court papers. Have your notice and court papers with you when you speak to an adviser.

If the judge does stop or delay the eviction, contact the bailiffs’ office to make sure that they are aware that the eviction has been stopped or delayed.

If the judge doesn’t agree to stop or delay the bailiffs, the eviction will go ahead. You will need to find alternative accommodation immediately. If you have no where to go, contact your local council’s homelessness department. The council may have a duty to help you secure other accommodation and, depending on your circumstances, provide you with emergency housing. See our pages on Help from the Council for more information.


What happens when the bailiffs arrive?


The bailiffs will remove you from the property and secure it so that you cannot get back in. If you are not there the property will be secured so that you cannot get in. Your landlord or your landlord’s representative must be present at the eviction so that the bailiffs can give possession. When this has been done your landlord can change the locks to prevent you re-entering the accommodation.

The bailiffs can ask the police to be present if they think you might try to stop the bailiffs from getting in. The police are not allowed to help the bailiffs with the eviction but are there in case there is any disturbance. The police can arrest anyone who is violent.

There are no restrictions as to what time of day the bailiffs can carry out the eviction, but they must act reasonably. They are entitled to use necessary, reasonable force to enter the home. They can remove you (and anyone else living in the accommodation), and may also remove your possessions.

The bailiffs will usually ask you to remove your belongings and will watch while you do so. If you refuse your landlord may remove your belongings. Alternatively the belongings may be left locked inside and you must make arrangements to collect them later.

If you believe the bailiffs have acted unreasonably or beyond their powers you may be able to complain. Examples include:

  • harassing you or other people in the property
  • threatening arrest or imprisonment
  • using offensive language
  • causing damage to your belongings
  • carrying out the eviction when only children are at home
  • evicting vulnerable people without suitable arrangements having been made.

You may be able to complain to the Civil Enforcement Association. If this is not successful, contact an adviser.



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What orders can be made?

What orders can be made?


There are a number of orders the court can make at a possession hearing.

If you do not understand the order that has been made make sure you ask the judge to explain it.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Courts are open and possession hearings are taking place. Some hearings might be dealt with at the court, others by telephone or a video link. Make sure you contact the court if you are worried about going to the court because of coronavirus.

If you have received possession papers from the county court use our guide to find out what will happen next.

Always get advice if possession proceedings have started against you. It might not be too late to stop or delay any eviction.


Outright possession order


If an outright possession order is granted you have to leave the accommodation by the date given in the order.

If you have an assured shorthold tenancy the date is usually 14 days after the date of the court hearing. However, if you are in an exceptionally difficult situation (such as if you are ill or have very young children) you may be able to convince the judge to delay this for up to 6 weeks. If you want to do this you should tell the judge about it at the hearing.

If you have a secure tenancy with the council or an assured tenancy with a housing association, the possession date is usually 28 days after the date of the hearing.

If you have not left once the date given in the possession order has passed your landlord can only evict you by applying to the court for bailiffs to remove you from the property and change the locks. It usually takes two to four weeks before the bailiffs do this, but you may only get a few days’ notice.


Suspended possession order


A suspended possession order means that you can stay in your home as long as you keep to certain conditions. These conditions will be explained on the court order. For example, you may be ordered to:

  • pay off rent arrears at a certain amount each week, or
  • not cause further disturbance to your neighbours.

If you don’t stick to all of the conditions your landlord can apply to the court for the bailiffs to evict you. This could happen very quickly so it is important that you get advice or contact your landlord immediately if you think you cannot keep to the conditions.


Adjourning the case


The judge may decide that the case cannot be decided yet and that the hearing should be delayed. This is called ‘adjourning the case’. It can be done either indefinitely or for a fixed period of time.

This might happen if:

  • your landlord says you have a certain type of tenancy but you disagree
  • the judge gives you more time to sort out a housing benefit or universal credit claim
  • the judge needs more evidence before making a decision.

If the case is adjourned you may be given a date for another court hearing. Alternatively your landlord may be told to reapply to the court after a fixed period of time or if the circumstances of the case change. In the meantime you have the right to remain in your home. If you are behind with the rent you may have to pay a certain amount each week as a condition of the case being adjourned.


Dismissing the case


The judge may decide that your case should be dismissed because there is no reason why you should be evicted.

This might happen if:

  • your landlord does not have the right to apply for possession
  • your landlord has not followed the correct procedure for bringing the case to court.

If the case is dismissed you have the right to remain in your home with the same conditions as before.


What is a money judgment?


A money judgment is an order that says that you have to pay the rent arrears, regardless of whether you are evicted. This will affect your credit rating, which could make it difficult to find a new home.


Will I have to pay court costs?


If a possession order is made or if you leave the property after your landlord starts the court case but before the order is made, you may be ordered to pay your landlord’s legal costs.

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.



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Pre action protocol

Pre-action eviction rules


Before starting court action to evict you, the housing association must follow the rules set out in a special pre-action protocol.

These rules apply if you have:



Eviction for rent arrears


If you are at risk of being evicted for rent arrears you may be eligible for the Breathing space scheme which gives you time to get some specialist debt advice.

Before starting court action

Before your landlord takes steps to evict you for rent arrears, they should contact you to talk about:

  • the cause of your arrears
  • your financial circumstances
  • your entitlement to benefits
  • how you plan to repay the arrears.

You should try to come to an agreement with your landlord about paying any arrears. Make sure anything you agree is affordable.

If necessary, your landlord should help you with any applications for housing benefit, universal credit (housing costs) or a discretionary housing payment. Your landlord should not start eviction proceedings if:

  • you have applied for one of these benefits
  • it is likely that you are eligible for a payment
  • you can make up any arrears not covered by housing benefit, universal credit or a discretionary housing payment.

If you are getting other benefits, your landlord should help you apply to have your arrears paid directly from those benefits.

Your landlord should send you a rent statement every 4 months saying how much rent is due. The statement should set out all the payments received, whether these were paid by you, housing benefit or a discretionary housing payment. It should also have a clear running total of the arrears.

For a joint tenancy, each of the tenants should be contacted separately to make sure that everyone is aware of the problem.

After giving you notice
After giving you a notice your landlord should continue to make attempts to contact you to discuss your arrears. They must do this before beginning court proceedings.

Your landlord should hold off on court action if you agree to pay your current rent and a reasonable amount towards your arrears and you stick to this arrangement.

Once court action has started
Once your landlord has started court action, at least ten days before the court hearing, your landlord should:

  • give you up-to-date rent statements
  • give you notice of the court date, and advise you that your home is at risk if you do not attend
  • tell you what they know about any claim you have made for housing benefit or help with your housing costs under universal credit.

Vulnerable tenants


If you have difficulty reading or understanding information, your landlord should try to make sure that you understand the information you are being given about eviction. They can do this, for example, by explaining it to you in more detail or providing an interpreter.

Ask for help if you have difficulty reading or understanding the information.

If you are particularly vulnerable (for example elderly, disabled, or suffering from mental illness) or you are under 18 years old, your landlord may need to:

  • apply to the court for someone to be appointed to represent you in court if you are not able to defend yourself. This representative is called a ‘litigation friend’
  • consider whether you have been discriminated against because of your age or vulnerability
  • consider whether you should have a needs assessment by social services.

Eviction under mandatory grounds


Before starting any court proceedings under a mandatory ground (for example, because you have been guilty of serious anti-social behaviour), your landlord should:

  • write to you explaining their reasons for wanting to evict you;
  • give you the chance to put forward any personal circumstances or other reasons why you should be allowed to stay.

If your landlord decides to continue with court proceedings they should explain how they have considered your personal circumstances and provide written reasons why they have decided to continue.


What if my landlord doesn’t follow the pre-action protocol?


Your landlord may have to explain to the court how they have followed the protocol.

If they have not done everything they should, the court can:

  • adjourn (postpone), strike out or dismiss your landlord’s claim – this can only happen if your landlord is trying to evict you on ‘discretionary’ grounds
  • decide that your landlord must pay court costs – this can happen even if your landlord is given a court order to evict you.

Get advice if you think your landlord has not followed the pre-action protocol.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

Pre action protocol

Pre-action eviction rules


Before starting court action to evict you from your secure council tenancy, the council must follow rules set out in a special pre-action protocol.



Eviction for rent arrears


Before starting court action
Before your landlord takes steps to evict you for rent arrears, they should contact you to talk about:

  • the cause of your arrears
  • your financial circumstances
  • your entitlement to benefits
  • how you plan to repay the arrears

You should try to come to an agreement with your landlord about paying any arrears. Make sure anything you agree is affordable.

If necessary, your landlord should help you with any applications for housing benefit, universal credit housing costs or a discretionary housing payment. Your landlord should not start eviction proceedings if:

  • you have applied for one of these benefits
  • it is likely that you are eligible for a payment
  • you can make up any arrears not covered by housing benefit, universal credit or a discretionary housing payment

If you are getting other benefits, your landlord should help you apply to have your arrears paid directly from those benefits.

Your landlord should send you a quarterly rent statement saying how much rent is due. The statement should set out all the payments received, whether these were paid by you, housing benefit or a discretionary housing payment. It should also have a clear running total of the arrears.

For a joint tenancy, each of the tenants should be contacted separately to make sure that everyone is aware of the problem.

After giving you a notice
After giving you a notice your landlord should continue to make attempts to contact you to discuss your arrears. They must do this before beginning court proceedings.

Your landlord should hold off on court action if you agree to pay your current rent and a reasonable amount towards your arrears and you stick to this arrangement.

Once court action has started
Once your landlord has started court action, at least 10 days before the court hearing, your landlord should:

  • give you up-to-date rent statements
  • give you notice of the court date, and tell you that your home is at risk if you do not attend
  • tell you what they know about any claim you have made for housing benefit or help with your housing costs under universal credit.

Vulnerable tenants


If you have difficulty reading or understanding information, your landlord should try to make sure that you understand the information you are being given about eviction. They can do this, for example, by explaining it to you in more detail or providing an interpreter.

Ask for help if you have difficulty reading or understanding the information.

If you are particularly vulnerable (for example elderly, disabled, or suffering from mental illness) or you are under 18 years old, your landlord may need to:

  • apply to the court for someone to be appointed to represent you in court if you are not able to defend yourself. This representative is called a ‘litigation friend’
  • consider whether you have been discriminated against because of your age or vulnerability
  • consider whether you should have a needs assessment by social services.

Eviction under mandatory grounds


Before starting any court proceedings under a mandatory ground (for example, because you have been convicted of a serious criminal offence or breached an anti-social behaviour order), your landlord should:

  • write to you explaining their reasons for wanting to evict you;
  • give you the chance to put forward any personal circumstances or other reasons why you should be allowed to stay.

If your landlord decides to continue with court proceedings they should explain how they have considered your personal circumstances and provide written reasons why they have decided to continue.


What if my landlord doesn’t follow the pre-action protocol?


Your landlord may have to explain to the court how they have followed the protocol.

If they have not done everything they should, the court can:

  • adjourn (postpone), strike out or dismiss your landlord’s claim – this can only happen if your landlord is trying to evict you on ‘discretionary’ grounds
  • decide that your landlord must pay court costs – this can happen even if your landlord is given a court order to evict you.

Get advice if you think your landlord has not followed the pre-action protocol.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

Can the council help?

Can the council help me?


Your local council may be able to help you if you are being harassed by your landlord or agent, or if you have been illegally evicted.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

It is illegal for your landlord to evict you without following the proper steps.

Notice periods were extended during the coronavirus pandemic and most tenants in Wales were entitled to 6 months’ notice. These protections ended on the 24 March 2022 and the normal notice rules apply to any notices served after that date.

Contact your local council, Rent Smart Wales or the police if you think you have been illegally evicted.


Who should I contact at the council?


Your council should have someone who is responsible for helping tenants who have been harassed or illegally evicted. They are often known as ‘tenancy relations officers’.

Find contact details for your local council here.

You might have to keep trying to get through to the right council team. When you get through, ask for the number of someone you can call if your landlord turns up at the property.


Can they help me negotiate with my landlord?


The council may contact your landlord to explain her/his responsibilities and your rights. The council may be able to mediate between you and your landlord to try and sort the problem out.

If you have been illegally evicted from your home, the council may contact your landlord and try to negotiate a way for you to return to your home.

If your landlord is the local council, you will not be able to get help from the tenancy relations officer. Call Shelter Cymru’s expert housing advice helpline.


Can they help me get back into my home?


The council should check your legal rights to stay in your home. It can then contact your landlord to negotiate for you to return.

The council’s tenancy relations officer may be able to go with you to help you re-enter your home.

The council can also give you legal advice. It can advise you about getting a solicitor and about going to court to get an injunction against your landlord.

The council doesn’t charge for help and advice.


Will the council prosecute my landlord?


The council has the power to prosecute landlords for illegal eviction or harassment but it is rare for them to do so. A council prosecution is most likely to happen if the harassment has been very serious or if you were evicted from a home where you had strong tenancy rights (such as a regulated or assured tenancy agreement).

The council will need good evidence in order to succeed in a prosecution, and this will include detailed statements from you, and any witnesses. You might need to go to court.


What if I am homeless?


If the illegal eviction has made you homeless, the council may have to help you with emergency accommodation while it looks into your situation. Contact your local council’s homelessness department and ask to make a homelessness application.

If you’re illegally evicted at night or at the weekend, call your council’s emergency out-of-hours number or the switchboard.

Find contact details for your local council here.

If you need urgent help at night or the weekend and cannot get through to your local council, contact:

  • Shelter Cymru 08000 495 495 (9.30am–4pm, Mon to Fri)
  • Shelter 0808 800 4444 (8am-8pm Mon to Fri, 9am-5pm Sat/Sun)
  • Police – 101 or 999 in an emergency.

What if the council won’t help me?


Report to Rent Smart Wales
Rent Smart Wales may be able to investigate if they believe that your landlord or letting agent is acting unlawfully. Check the Rent Smart Wales website to see if your landlord is registered and what to do if you have a complaint.

Contact the police
Many illegal evictions take place after office hours so it can be difficult to get help. Illegal eviction is a criminal offence and the police should be able to help you. Call the police on 101 or 999 if it is an emergency. Find contact numbers for the police here.

Complain to the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales
If you don’t feel that the council has treated you as it should, you can complain to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. The ombudsman will investigate your complaint and, if s/he agrees with it, can recommend that the council apologises and changes its procedures to avoid similar problems in the future.

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline


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Why do landlords harass tenants?

Preventing harassment or illegal eviction


There might be things you can do to stop your landlord or letting agent carrying out any threats to evict or harass you.

Sometimes your landlord may not know that they are acting unlawfully and by talking to them you might be able to come to an agreement. Sometimes it might help to explain your situation and any problems you are having, for example, with paying your rent.



Are you in rent arrears?


It’s important to speak to your landlord as soon as possible if you fall behind with your rent. Explain why you haven’t been able to pay and try to negotiate a way of paying back money that you owe.

Make sure that your landlord has calculated the rent arrears correctly before you agree a repayment plan.

Even if your landlord wants you to leave because of your rent arrears, s/he must still follow the correct legal procedure.

Click here for more advice on dealing with rent arrears and debts.


Is the landlord coming round to inspect the property too often?


You must allow your landlord access to your home if they need to inspect it for the purposes of repairs.  They should give you reasonable notice (usually at least 24 hours) before coming round, unless it’s an emergency.

Landlords only have the right to enter the parts of your home that need repair work done. If they need to fix the kitchen sink, for example, it doesn’t mean that they can look round the rest of your home without your permission.

Your landlord should not need to come round very often to inspect the property. If they are coming more often than you would like, or letting themselves in without your permission, it could be considered harassment.

Try to speak to them and agree how often it is acceptable to have the property inspected.


Have you been away for a while?


If you go away for a long time without telling your landlord, they may mistakenly think that you have abandoned your home and are not planning to return.

Avoid any misunderstanding by always letting your landlord know when you plan to be away for any length of time and explaining that you plan to return. Make sure you make arrangements for the rent to be paid while you are away.

If your landlord has rented the property to someone else while you have been away, or won’t let you back in for another reason, you should get urgent advice.


Does your tenancy give you strong rights?


Some types of tenancies give tenants more protection from eviction and rent increases. This is particularly true for tenants who have a regulated tenancy (which may be the case if your tenancy started before 15 January 1989) and also for those with an assured tenancy. Some landlords may harass or illegally evict tenants in order to replace them with others who have a less secure type of tenancy agreement.

Landlords sometimes illegally evict a tenant with a regulated tenancy because these tenants often pay lower rents, which are controlled by the rent officer. If you think that this is the reason your landlord is harassing you, or has illegally evicted you, get advice urgently.


Is your landlord selling the property?


In some cases your landlord may be trying to sell the property and want to bring people round to view your home. Unless you agreed to it in your tenancy agreement, your landlord does not have the right to show people around your home without your permission and could be guilty of harassment if they do so.

If they want to bring people around, they should give you reasonable notice and do so at a convenient time. If you prefer not to allow this, and you have not previously agreed to in your tenancy agreement, you may refuse and your landlord will have to wait until you are evicted or get a court order allowing them access.

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

What counts as illegal eviction?

What is illegal eviction?


Landlords and letting agents must follow the correct procedure to evict tenants. An illegal eviction takes place if a landlord or letting agent makes you leave your home without following the right procedure.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

It is illegal for your landlord to evict you without following the proper steps, even if they want to evict you because of coronavirus.

It is likely to be an illegal eviction if your landlord:

  • makes you leave without notice or a court order
  • locks you out of your home.

If your landlord tries to evict you, get advice urgently. Contact your local council, Rent Smart Wales or the police.


Can my landlord do what s/he likes?


No. There are certain actions that nearly always count as illegal eviction. Your landlord may be committing a criminal offence if s/he:

  • changes the locks while you are out
  • threatens you or forces you to leave
  • physically throws you out
  • stops you from getting into certain parts of your home.

What is the right procedure to evict me?


The correct procedure for evicting you depends on the type of agreement you have, and the reasons why you are being asked to leave.

In most cases, your landlord has to follow 3 steps :


Your landlord should begin by giving you notice that s/he wants you to leave. This might be a notice to quit, a notice of seeking possession or a ‘section 21 notice’ – depending on the type of tenancy you have.

After your notice period has finished, if your landlord would like you to go, s/he has to start court action to get a possession order. If you don’t leave on the day the court says, your landlord must ask the court to issue a bailiff’s warrant.

If your landlord does not use this process they could be illegally evicting you.

Certain occupiers are excluded, which means they can be evicted without a court order. This includes where they:

  • live in the same building as their landlord and share living accommodation (including a bathroom, or kitchen)
  • live in holiday accommodation
  • don’t have any legal obligation to pay rent (and, if your home comes with your job, you don’t give your landlord/employer the equivalent money’s worth in unpaid work)
  • live in a hostel or other temporary accommodation.

What if I live with my landlord?


If you live with your landlord in her/his home (for example, if you are a lodger), you are likely to be an excluded occupier and only entitled to reasonable notice before you have to leave. This notice can be given verbally, and should be equal to your rental period (for example, a week, if you pay your rent weekly) unless you have agreed to a different notice period in advance.


What if my landlord is violent?


If your landlord is making you feel unsafe in your home or has been violent or threatened you with violence, report them to the police by calling 101 or 999 if it is an emergency. Find contact numbers for the police here.

If you feel unsafe in your home because of violence or threats of violence from your landlord, your local council may have a duty to rehouse you. If you are in this situation, get advice.


What can I do if I’ve been illegally evicted?


If you are evicted illegally, you should get support as soon as you can:

Speak to a Shelter Cymru adviser
An adviser should be able to:

    • tell you whether you have any chance of getting back into your home or reclaiming your belongings and, if so, help you to do so
    • help you find somewhere else to live
    • help you take court action against your landlord.You may be able to get an injunction allowing you back into your home, or to claim compensation if you’ve lost out financially.

Contact your local council
The council may be able to give you advice, negotiate with your landlord and prevent you from becoming homeless. For more information on what the council can do, click here and to find the contact details of your local council, click here and enter your postcode – they may have an emergency number to ring.

Contact the police
Many illegal evictions take place after office hours so it can be difficult to get help. Illegal eviction is a criminal offence and the police should be able to help you. Call the police on 101 or 999 if it is an emergency. Find contact numbers for the police here.


We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

What counts as harassment?

Harassment


Harassment can be any action your landlord takes to deliberately disrupt your life or make you leave your property. Harassment can also be committed by someone else, for example the landlord’s family or letting agent.



What is harassment?


Landlord harassment is a criminal offence. It can include:

  • cutting off or restricting gas, electricity or water supply
  • visiting your home regularly without warning
  • interfering with your post
  • threatening you
  • sending builders round without notice
  • entering your home when you are not there, without your permission
  • beginning disruptive repair works and not finishing them
  • harassing you because of your gender, race or sexuality.

This behaviour may be intended to make you leave your home without your landlord having to follow the proper legal procedures, or it may be for other reasons.

Harassment can be very distressing and might make you feel as though you have no choice other than to move out.


What if a letting agent is harassing me?


Harassment by a letting agent, or by anyone working on behalf of the landlord, is also a criminal offence. If your landlord knows how the agent is behaving, then your landlord could be held equally responsible by law.

Most agents dealing with properties in Wales should have a licence under the Rent Smart Wales scheme. If you are being harassed, or have been threatened with illegal eviction by an agent, check the Rent Smart Wales website to see if the agent has a licence and, if so, make a complaint so that Rent Smart Wales can investigate it further.

Some agencies belong to trade associations such as:

Most trade associations have a complaints procedure and some may have a mediation service, which could help to negotiate a solution to the problem. If your agent has behaved illegally, it could be asked to leave the trade association.


What can I do about it?


Take a look at the practical steps we suggest you take here.

Remember, if your landlord is making you feel unsafe in your home or has threatened you with violence, report them to the police by calling 101 or 999 if it is an emergency. Find contact numbers for the police here.

In serious cases, you might be able to get an injunction against the landlord or agent. An injunction is a court order to tell your landlord or agent to stop harassing you. You’ll need the help of a solicitor or adviser to get one. Contact a Shelter Cymru adviser near you who can then refer you to a solicitor in their legal team.

Legal aid is available for injunctions. You may be eligible for legal aid if you claim certain benefits or have a low income. Contact Civil Legal Advice to find out if you qualify for legal aid.


Does it matter what type of tenancy I have?


All tenants are given protection by the law against harassment and illegal eviction.

If you are:

your landlord doesn’t need a special legal reason to evict you, so you should get advice regarding your housing options before you challenge her/him, as to do so may put your home at risk.

If you have an assured tenancy or a regulated tenancy you are in a much stronger position as the landlord can’t evict you without a valid legal reason. Get advice if you’re not certain what kind of tenancy you have.

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.



Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline


Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us