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.
Shelter Cymru can help you, see our advice near you for an advice surgery near you.
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 evict an assured tenant, your landlord has to follow 3 steps :
If you are an assured tenant your landlord can only obtain a possession order from the court if they can prove a reason (or ‘ground’) for the eviction.
Step 1 : Notice
Your landlord has 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.
What grounds can the landlord use in the notice?
The grounds (reasons) that landlords can use to evict assured tenants are in two groups:
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.
Step 2 : Possession Order
Once a valid notice has ended your landlord can apply to the county court for a possession order.
You will receive a notice from the court telling you the date of the 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.
Step 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.
If your landlord tries to evict you without getting a possession order or without a court bailiff they are breaking the law. There might be action you can take to stop your landlord from doing this. See our pages on harassment and illegal eviction.
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.