Eviction of regulated tenants
- Regulated tenants have strong protection against eviction
- Most regulated tenants can only be evicted in certain circumstances
- Getting advice at an early stage can help you keep your home
Am I a regulated tenant?
Most private tenants are standard contract-holders but if your renting agreement started before 15 January 1989, you could be a regulated tenant. If you think you might be a regulated tenant, click here for more detailed advice.
If you are a regulated tenant you have stronger rights than most other private occupiers and 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.
The 3 steps to eviction
To lawfully evict a regulated tenant, your landlord must follow 3 steps. Find out more about each step below.
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’.
It is only possible for your landlord to get a possession order once your tenancy is in its statutory stage.
2. Possession 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 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 help as quickly as possible from an adviser or solicitor.
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. 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. Get help if this happens to you.