Eviction of regulated tenants
Most tenants can only be evicted in certain circumstances. This section explains when landlords have the right to evict regulated tenants and the procedures that must be followed.
If you are being threatened with eviction you should contact an adviser as soon as you can. Don’t give up your home without doing this.
See advice near you to find an adviser in your area.
Most private sector tenants have rights that come from the law. These depend on the type of living arrangement you have, the date you moved in and the agreement you have with your landlord. Regulated tenants have stronger rights than most other private tenants.
If you are a regulated tenant you have strong tenancy rights. You can only be evicted if:
- your tenancy is at the statutory stage (see below), and
- your landlord can prove a reason (or ‘ground’) to the court
Your landlord must get a possession order from the court. The court will only give a possession order if your landlord proves the reason or ‘ground’ on which you are being evicted. The court may only be able to make a possession order if it is reasonable to do so which depends on why you are being evicted.
Does it matter what stage my tenancy is at?
Regulated tenancies have two stages. The first is the contractual stage which lasts for the duration of your original agreement with your landlord. Your tenancy is in the contractual stage if:
- the tenancy was for an initial fixed term and this has not yet ended
- the tenancy was periodic from the start and your landlord has not served a notice to end the contractual stage of your tenancy (called a ‘notice to quit’)
In general, as no new regulated tenancies can have started since 15 January 1989 it is fairly unlikely that your tenancy is still in the contractual stage.
Once the contractual stage comes to an end your tenancy then enters the statutory stage. The contractual stage ends if:
- the fixed term runs out
- your landlord serves a valid ‘notice to quit’, or a notice to increase the rent which is the same length as a notice to quit
It is only possible for your landlord to get a court order to evict you once your tenancy is in its statutory stage.
When can the landlord apply for a court order?
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 reason. The grounds that landlords can use are divided into two types: mandatory and discretionary.
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. The courts have wide discretion in deciding what is reasonable and your circumstances can be taken into account. Even if the court does grant possession to your landlord it can suspend or postpone possession.
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.
Can I defend the claim for possession?
If you believe the landlord is wrong about the grounds on which possession is sought, for example you do not owe the rent arrears claimed, or you have not breached your tenancy agreement in the ways stated, 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.
What happens after the court order?
After a possession order takes effect your landlord can ask the bailiffs to evict you if you have not left the property.
Could the eviction be illegal?
It is against the law for your landlord to try to evict you without getting a court order. There might be things you can do to stop the landlord from doing this. The council or an advice agency might be able to help.
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.