Grounds to evict an housing association tenant
Whether the housing association needs to prove legal reasons (known as grounds) to evict you depends on the type of tenancy you have.
Most housing association tenants have an assured tenancy. To evict an assured tenant your landlord must get a court order and ask the court to send bailiffs to evict you. To get a court order they must prove to the court that at least one of the grounds exist.
Housing associations need to have reasons or ‘grounds’ to evict assured tenants. These grounds have to be proven in court.
The grounds are in two groups: ‘mandatory grounds’ and ‘discretionary grounds’.
If your landlord is using a mandatory ground the court has no choice but to make a possession order if it is satisfied that the ground is proved. Examples of mandatory grounds include:
- serious rent arrears : you pay rent weekly, and you have more than eight weeks’ rent arrears, or if you pay rent monthly, you have more than two months’ rent arrears
- serious anti-social behaviour : you (or people who live with you or visit you) have been convicted of a serious criminal offence, breached an anti-social behaviour injunction or criminal behaviour order or breached an order in respect of noise nuisance.
If your landlord is using a discretionary ground the court will only make a possession order if the ground is proven and it is reasonable to do so. Examples of discretionary grounds include:
- rent arrears or late payment of rent : you have some rent arrears or you are regularly late paying your rent
- breaking your tenancy agreement : you have broken a term of your tenancy agreement
- anti-social behaviour : you (or people who live with you or visit you) have caused a nuisance or annoyance in your home, or in the neighbourhood or used your home for illegal or immoral activities (eg drug dealing)
- condition of your home : you have allowed the condition of the property to deteriorate or have damaged your home or any furniture provided with it
- adapted property : your home was designed or adapted for a person with special needs, and the people in your household no longer need those special facilities.
Assured shorthold tenants – fixed term
If you are an assured shorthold tenant in the fixed term of your tenancy agreement (this would normally be in the first twelve months of your tenancy), the housing association could end your tenancy early by giving you notice, provided that your agreement contains a ‘break clause’ allowing your landlord to terminate the tenancy early. The housing association can then choose to give you a shorter notice and will have to prove a ‘ground’ for possession (see above), or a 2-month notice, in which case they can obtain a possession order automatically.
Demoted or assured shorthold tenants – periodic
If you are a demoted or starter tenant, or if you are an assured shorthold tenant out of your fixed term (a periodic tenant), the housing association won’t have to prove a ground. It is also unlikely to need to provide a ground if you are living in temporary accommodation, supported housing, or a hostel.
Whatever the reasons, it’s always a good idea to speak to an adviser. An adviser may be able to help you negotiate with the housing association, and/or represent you in court. It’s very important to prepare your case properly and attend the hearing. Otherwise, the judge may assume that you agree with everything your housing association has said.
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.