If your tenancy is at the statutory stage the landlord can apply for a possession order from the court. The court will only make a possession order if your landlord can prove a ground (reason) to evict you.
The grounds that landlords can use are divided into two types:
If your landlord can prove a mandatory ground for possession the court has no option other than to make a possession order. These grounds cannot be used unless the landlord has given you prior notice that the ground may be used. This means that before your tenancy started you must have been told in writing that you may be evicted for one of these reasons:
- your landlord (or a member of your landlord’s family in some circumstances) wants to return to live in the property (and lived there previously)
- your landlord wants to retire to the property
- a minister of religion normally occupies the property and needs to live there
- an agricultural worker normally occupies the property and needs to live there (and you are not an agricultural worker)
- your landlord is a member of the armed forces and intends to live there after discharge.
If your landlord is using a discretionary ground for possession the court has to consider whether it is reasonable for possession to be granted before an order can be made. Even if the court does grant possession to your landlord it can suspend possession on conditions.
Discretionary grounds include:
- suitable alternative accommodation is available for you (this could be another private tenancy or council accommodation)
- you have rent arrears or have breached the terms of your tenancy agreement
- you have caused nuisance or annoyance
- the furniture or condition of the property has deteriorated
- you have assigned the tenancy or sublet without the landlord’s consent
- you were employed by your landlord and the accommodation is needed for a new worker
- your landlord or a member of your landlord’s family needs the property to live in more than you do.
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 disagree with what the landlord has stated in the court papers, for example you do not owe the rent arrears claimed or you believe it would not in all the circumstances be reasonable for the court to make a possession order, you may have grounds to defend the claim, and you should get advice as quickly as possible from an adviser or solicitor.