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Eviction of council tenants

As a council tenant you generally have the right to stay in your home, providing you don’t break the rules of your tenancy. The procedure the council must follow will depend on the type of tenancy you have.

If you are a council tenant and threatened with eviction, speak to an adviser immediately. Even if the bailiffs are on the way, it’s never too late to get help.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Emergency laws mean that most council tenants in Wales who get an eviction notice on or after 29 September 2020 are entitled to 6 months’ notice before their landlord can apply to court. This includes secure, introductory and demoted tenancies.

The way the courts are dealing with possession cases has changed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Step-by-step guide to possession proceedings during Covid19

Courts are still able to process possession cases but bailiffs in Wales are unable to carry out any evictions until after 30 June 2021, except in limited circumstances, such as if you are being evicted for anti-social behaviour. This means that even if your landlord has obtained a possession order from the court, in most cases bailiffs will not currently be able to evict you from your home.

There are also some new stages in the possession process. These include:

Reactivation Notices: if your landlord started court proceedings before 3 August 2020 it is likely that it was put on hold for a time. Your landlord must send a Reactivation Notice to you and the court to re-start the case. In the notice they must give information to the court about the impact coronavirus has had on you and your family. Make sure you tell your landlord straight away if you are struggling because of coronavirus, for example, if your income has reduced and you cannot pay your rent. It is best to do this in an email. Your landlord will then have to pass this information on to the court in any Reactivation Notice.

Review Date: in most cases the court will set a Review Date for the judge to review the papers and see if an agreement can be reached before a court hearing takes place. You don’t need to go to court on the Review Date but you will be told when it is so that you can try and make an agreement if possible.

Courts remain open but some hearings might be dealt with by telephone or a video link. Make sure you contact the court in advance of any court hearing if you are worried about going to the court because of coronavirus.

Court duty advisers are available to help you on any Review Date or at any possession hearing. Details of how to contact an adviser should be sent to you with the papers from the court.

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

For more information on eviction, see our pages on eviction : court action.

If you are struggling to pay your rent, see our advice.

Always get advice if possession proceedings have started against you. You could still lose your home during the pandemic.

The steps involved in eviction

To evict you from a tenancy, the council must usually take 3 steps:

  1. send you notice to leave
  2. apply to the court for a possession order
  3. ask the court to send bailiffs to evict you.

If you are a secure council tenant, before starting court action to evict you, the council must follow the rules set out in a special pre-action protocol.

The rules on eviction are different depending on what type of tenancy you have. Most council tenants have secure tenancies, but you could also have an introductory or demoted tenancy. Ask your council if you are not sure what type of tenant you are.

Can I defend the possession claim?

If you believe that:

  • the council is wrong in what they say either in the notice, or in the court papers
  • the notice does not comply with the rules
  • the council has not followed the pre-action protocol, or
  • that in all the circumstances it would not be reasonable for you to be evicted,

you may have grounds to defend the claim. This will depend on what type of tenancy you have and you should get advice immediately from an adviser.

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
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 eviction rules

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

Notice from the council

The first formal step for the council to evict you is to give you a notice. The length of the notice depends on the type of tenancy you have and the reason the council wants to evict you.

Grounds of eviction

Most council tenants cannot be evicted unless the council applies to court and proves a ‘ground of eviction’.

Court orders

Most council tenants cannot be evicted unless the council obtains a court order. It is important that you get advice and go to any court hearing.

This page was last updated on: March 22, 2021

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.

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