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.
When can my landlord ask a bailiff to evict me?
- 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.
Use court form N244 to make the application and make sure you send in copies of any documents which help to explain why you want the bailiff’s warrant 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.
An adviser or solicitor can help you complete the court papers and prepare a witness statement to provide supporting evidence as to why the order should be changed. Contact Shelter Cymru as soon as you can – call our helpline , use our webchat or find an advice service near you.
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.