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Eviction of assured tenants

Most assured tenants can only be evicted in certain circumstances. This section explains when landlords have the right to evict assured tenants and the procedures that must be followed.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Most private tenants in Wales are currently entitled to 6 months’ notice before their landlord can start court action to evict them. This includes assured tenants.

You could be given a shorter notice in some cases. For example if you’re facing eviction for antisocial behaviour, are living with your landlord, or you received your notice before the 29 September 2020. Use our interactive tool below to find out how much notice you are entitled to:

What if my landlord has already started court proceedings to evict me?

The way the courts deal with possession cases changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. If you have received possession papers or a notice of eviction from the county court use our step-by-step guide below to find out what will happen next:

Step-by-step guide to possession proceedings during Covid19

You can also take a look at our advice on court proceedings.

Am I an assured tenant?

Most private tenants are assured shorthold tenants. You are only likely to be an assured tenant if:

  • you moved in before February 1997 and did not receive a notice saying you are an assured shorthold tenant, or
  • your landlord informed you in writing that you are an assured tenant before your tenancy started.

The 3 steps to eviction

To lawfully evict an assured tenant, your landlord must follow 3 steps. Find out more about each step below.

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1. Notice

The first step your landlord has to take is to give you a written notice which must:

  • be in a special form
  • include the reason (‘ground’) why he/she wants you to leave
  • state the earliest date that court action can start
  • be for a set length of time and let you know that after that time your landlord can apply to the court for a possession order.

The length of time on the notice depends on the reason your landlord wants you to leave. It can be either 14 days or two months, but if you have been guilty of causing a nuisance, or have been convicted of certain offences, it might state that court proceedings for possession can be started immediately.

Notices are valid for 1 year. If court action is not started within this time your landlord has to serve a new notice.

The grounds (reasons) that landlords can use against assured tenants are in two groups:

Mandatory 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.

Discretionary Grounds
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.

2. Possession order

If you haven’t left by the time the notice expires, your landlord must apply for an order from the county court telling you to leave. This is known as a possession order.

You will receive a notice from the court telling you the date of a court hearing. You should always try to go to the hearing.  There might be a duty adviser available to help you at court. Click here for advice on what to expect at court.

If you do not agree with what the landlord has said in the notice, or in the court papers – for example, about the amount of rent you owe – or if you think it would not be reasonable for a possession order to be made, you may be able to stop or delay the eviction. Call Shelter Cymru’s expert housing advice helpline urgently.

At court, if your landlord uses a mandatory ground and the court agrees that the ground exists, the court has no choice but to make a possession order. It might be possible to delay the possession order for up to six weeks if you are suffering great hardship.

If your landlord is using a discretionary ground the court will only make a possession order if it is reasonable to do so. In deciding whether it is reasonable for a possession order to be made the court can take your circumstances (such as your health and income) into account.  The court might make a suspended possession order with conditions attached to it to give you a chance to keep your home by, for example, paying the rent arrears off in instalments.

3. Bailiff

After the date in the possession order ends, or if you do not keep to the conditions of a suspended possession order, your landlord can ask the county court bailiffs to evict you.

You will receive a letter from the court saying when the bailiffs will arrive. This is called a Notice of Eviction. 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.

This page was last updated on: August 10, 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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