Eviction: secure contracts
- Secure contract-holders have strong protection against eviction
- Your landlord must serve you notice and get a court order to evict you
- The court will only allow your landlord to evict you if they think it is reasonable
The 3 steps to eviction
Step 1: Notice
Your landlord must first give you written notice. The notice must specify how long before they can start court action.
Step 2: Court action
Before starting court action community landlords must also follow rules set out in a special pre-action protocol. If you think your landlord has not followed the pre-action protocol, get advice.
Step 3: Bailiff
If you have not left on the date the possession order says you should, the landlord must then arrange for a county court bailiff to evict you. You can only be evicted by bailiffs with an eviction warrant. If anyone tries to force you to leave your home without following this process, it is likely to be an illegal eviction.
Grounds for eviction: ‘discretionary grounds’
Your landlord can’t evict you without proving a legal reason. These reasons are known as ‘discretionary’ grounds. The grounds must be stated in any notice they give you before they start court proceedings. There are 2 types of discretionary grounds:
Breach of contract.
This means if you break a term of your occupation contract. For example:
- you have rent arrears (if you are at risk of being evicted for rent arrears you may be eligible for the Breathing space scheme which gives you time to get some specialist debt advice).
- you (or people who live with you or visit you) cause nuisance or annoyance in your home or in the neighbourhood
- you (or people who live with you or visit you) cause nuisance to your landlord, their staff or contractors
- you use your home for illegal activities (e.g., drug dealing)
- you damage your home or any furniture your landlord has provided with it
- you lied about your circumstances in order to get the property in the first place
- you have lodgers or sub-holders and your home is overcrowded as a result
Estate management grounds
For estate management grounds, the court must decide evicting you is reasonable and your landlord must offer you suitable alternative accommodation. In many cases the landlord must also reimburse any moving costs.
Estate management grounds include:
- your home was designed or adapted for a disabled person and no disabled person is living in your home
- your landlord plans to demolish your home
- your landlord needs to do major repairs that it can’t do while you are living there
- you inherited the occupation contract after the original contract-holder died and the home is too big for you (provided you are not the original contract-holder’s spouse, civil partner or lived in the home as their partner)
- a joint contract-holder has withdrawn from or on longer part of the contract and the home is too big for you
This is not a complete list of estate management grounds.
How much notice will I get?
If your landlord is evicting you for breach of contract or estate management grounds, you will usually get 1 months’ notice before your landlord can start court action.
However, if the landlord is evicting you for antisocial behaviour they can begin court action as soon as they have given you notice.
If your landlord is evicting you because you have inherited the contract through succession and the home is larger than you need, then they cannot serve notice until 6 months after they found out about the death of the contract-holder. Once 12 months have passed, they cannot give notice using this ground.
If your landlord is evicting you because a joint contract-holder has left the contract and the home is larger than you need, they must serve notice within 6 months of the joint contract-holder leaving the contract.
After giving you notice your landlord has 6 months to begin court action.
Always get help if you receive a notice. An adviser can check if the notice is correct and may be able to help you keep your home.
How the court makes a decision
The court can only decide to evict you if the landlord proves the ground and it is reasonable to evict you. If the ground is an estate management ground, then the landlord must also show the court that they are making suitable alternative accommodation available for you. For information about the different decisions the court can make, see here.
Get help if you are facing eviction
Get help now if you’re facing eviction. An adviser can check if the notice is correct and may be able to help you negotiate with your landlord or represent you in court. Have the papers you received from the court or your landlord with you when you speak to an adviser.
If you are at risk of losing your home you should contact your local council to make a homelessness application.