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Eviction by a private landlord

Private landlords must follow legal procedures to evict tenants. They sometimes need a legal reason (known as a ‘ground’) to evict you but in many cases they don’t.

How and when your landlord can evict you depends on the type of tenancy you have. The rules for the more common types of tenancy are explained below.

If you are an assured shorthold tenant and are being evicted, you could also take a look at our short video on the right hand side of this page.

Whatever type of tenancy you have, and whatever stage an eviction is at, it’s always worth getting advice. You might be able to stop or delay the eviction.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Emergency laws mean that most private 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 assured and assured shorthold tenants.

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 31 March 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.

Step 1 : Notice

The first step your landlord has to take is to write to you to ask you to leave. Most tenants are entitled to a written notice. The notice may be written in a formal way because it has to contain certain legal information. Where a notice is required it must:

  • be of a specific length of time
  • state the date that your landlord wants you to leave
  • give reasons why you are being asked to leave (if applicable)
  • give specific information such as where you can get advice (if applicable).

For most types of tenants there are rules about how long your landlord has to give you before you have to leave and when the notice can be given.

In some cases landlords do not have to give written notice before you have to leave. This normally only applies to people who share accommodation with their landlord or who are living in their accommodation on a very temporary basis.

Step 2 : Court

If you haven’t left by the time the notice expires, landlords usually have to apply for an order from the county court telling you to leave. This is known as a possession order. Most tenants are entitled to stay in their accommodation until a possession order takes effect.

Sometimes landlords are able to get a possession order automatically but other times they need to prove a reason to the court. There may be a court hearing.

Find out more about court action for eviction here.

Step 3 : Bailiff

If you haven’t left by the date the court says you have to your landlord can arrange for a bailiff to evict you.

You will receive a letter from the court saying when the bailiffs will arrive. Bailiffs can physically remove you and your belongings from the property but must not use violence or unreasonable force in doing so.

It is sometimes possible to apply to the court to stop the bailiffs from evicting you. You should get specialist advice immediately if you want to do this.

Nobody other than a bailiff acting for the county court is allowed to physically remove you from the accommodation. If anyone else attempts to do this they are probably guilty of illegal eviction, which is a serious offence. Contact Shelter Cymru for advice if this happens to you.

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

Notice

Receiving a notice from your landlord is usually the first step in the eviction process. Find out more here.

Eviction of assured shorthold tenants

Most private tenants are assured shorthold tenants. They can be evicted by a landlord following the correct process, sometimes without the landlord having to give any reason.

Eviction of assured tenants

Most assured tenants can only be evicted in certain circumstances. Find out the procedures that must be followed here.

Eviction of regulated tenants

This section explains when landlords have the right to evict regulated tenants and the procedures that must be followed.

Occupiers with basic protection

This section explains when landlords have the right to evict occupiers with basic protection and the procedures that must be followed.

Excluded occupiers

If you are an excluded occupier your landlord can evict you without having to go to court.

This page was last updated on: January 27, 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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