What grounds can the council use to evict me?

Most council tenants have a secure tenancy and can only be evicted for certain legal reasons (known as grounds).

The council must prove to a court that at least one of these reasons apply before they can evict you.

The reason (ground) must be stated in any notice they give you before they start court proceedings.

If you are a demoted or introductory tenant, the council will not have to prove a ground and different rules apply for eviction.

Grounds for evicting a secure tenant

The law sets out reasons why you can be evicted if you have a secure council tenancy.

These reasons are called grounds for possession. They are split into two main types:

  • discretionary grounds – the court must decide if it’s reasonable for you to be evicted
  • mandatory grounds – the court must order you to leave if the council proves the ground applies.

Discretionary grounds

If the council wants to evict you for discretionary grounds, the court must agree both that:

  • the council can prove the ground applies
  • it is reasonable to make a possession order.

Discretionary grounds include:

  • you have rent arrears
  • you break a term of your tenancy agreement
  • you (or people who live with you or visit you) cause nuisance or annoyance in your home or in the neighbourhood
  • you (or people who live with you or visit you) cause nuisance to your landlord, their staff or contractors
  • you use your home for illegal or immoral activities (eg drug dealing)
  • you are violent towards your spouse, civil partner or partner, and s/he leaves as a result
  • you damage your home or any furniture the council has provided with it
  • you lied about your circumstances in order to get the tenancy in the first place
  • you paid money in order to exchange your home
  • you have lodgers or subtenants and your home is overcrowded as a result
  • the council plans to demolish your home
  • the council needs to do major repairs that it can’t do while you are living there
  • you inherited the council tenancy after the original tenant died and the home is too big for you (provided you are not the original tenant’s spouse or civil partner).

For some grounds, the council must offer you suitable alternative accommodation before a possession order can be made.  For example, if they want to evict you because your home was designed or adapted for a disabled person and no disabled person is living in your home.

Mandatory ground : anti-social behaviour

The court must make a possession order if the council proves a mandatory ground for eviction applies to you.

A mandatory ground applies if you, or someone living in your home, has:

  • been convicted of a serious criminal offence
  • breached an injunction to prevent nuisance or annoyance
  • breached a criminal behaviour order
  • had a closure order made on your property, or
  • breached a noise abatement notice or court order in relation to noise nuisance.

In some cases, this ground can apply if the person convicted or breaching the orders is a visitor to your home.

Serious criminal offences include violence, sexual offence and those relating to drugs.

Before taking you to court on this ground, the council must first give you a notice. You have 7 days from receiving that notice to ask the council to review their decision to evict you. If you want to ask for a review you must make sure you put your request in writing and set out the reasons why you think the council should change it’s decision. You are entitled to ask for the review to be dealt with at a hearing and to go along if you wish.

The council does not have the power to extend the 7 day time period so it is important that you act quickly if you are in this situation. Get advice now.

Get advice if you are facing eviction

Get help now if you’re facing eviction.

An adviser may be able to help you negotiate with the council, and/or represent you in court. Have the papers you received from the court or your council with you when you speak to an adviser.

Take a look at our pages on court action to find out more.

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 0345 075 5005.

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If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
0345 075 5005

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This page was last updated on: October 8, 2019

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.