- The council’s homelessness team might be able to help prevent you from being evicted
- Getting advice as soon as you can might help you keep your home
If your landlord has asked you to leave, get help as soon as you can. With the right advice you might be able to prevent the eviction so that you can continue to stay in your home, or delay things to give you more time to find somewhere else. An adviser can deal with court papers, and may be able to represent you in court.
Eviction because of rent arrears
If you have rent arrears you may be eligible for the Breathing space scheme which gives you time to get some specialist debt advice without having to worry about legal action being taken against you.
If your arrears are because of delays in your housing benefit or universal credit claim, you should let your landlord know. Make sure you have given all the information the council or Jobcentre needs to process your claim, and keep a note of any contact you have if you are trying to chase things up.
If you are not expecting housing benefit or universal credit to cover the rent arrears, you should make an arrangement to clear the arrears. Make sure that this is affordable and that you can keep to the arrangement. If you can prove that you can stick to the arrangement, you are far less likely to be evicted.
If your housing benefit or universal credit housing costs do not cover all of your rent, you can apply for a discretionary housing payment from the council.
If you are under 25, take a look at our advice about rent arrears.
Eviction because of anti-social behaviour
Your landlord may want to evict you because they believe that you, or someone living with you or visiting you, has been acting in an antisocial way or has been disturbing, upsetting, annoying or harassing neighbours. If you are a joint contract-holder, your landlord can end your right to live in the property if they believe you are causing the anti-social behaviour.
Talk to your landlord. Perhaps your neighbours have been complaining unreasonably about your behaviour. Or perhaps you could go to mediation to sort out your problems.
If you admit that there has been anti-social behaviour, you should do everything you can to make sure it stops. You will want to show your landlord and, if your case goes to court, the judge, that the problems have stopped.
Eviction because of neglecting or damaging the property
Your landlord may want to evict you because you haven’t been taking good care of the property.
If you are having difficulty looking after the property because of health reasons, you should explain this to your landlord. They may be able to put you in touch with someone who can help you look after the property. Or you can contact the council’s social services department, which may be able to carry out a ‘needs assessment‘ and arrange for you to get some help.
If you have damaged the property, you could repair the damage or offer to pay for the repairs. Only try repairing something yourself if you know what you are doing. If you make the damage worse you will only annoy your landlord even more.
If you have just neglected the issues, this could be the prompt that you need. Get it sorted and prove that you can keep the place in good condition.
Eviction if you’ve been away from your home
If you are going to be away from your home it is always best to let your landlord know, and to make sure the landlord can contact you. It is likely to be a supplementary term of your contract to inform the landlord if you are going away for 28 days or more.
If you are away from your home for a long time your landlord might think that you no longer live there and can evict you using the abandonment procedure. This procedure can only be used by the landlord if your contract states that you must live there as your ‘only or principal home’. If you are living in your home, you may be able to prove this by showing your utility bills, such as gas or electricity.
If you are a joint contract-holder, your landlord can also end your rights to occupy the property if they think you no longer live there. This process is similar to the abandonment procedure mentioned above, and can only be used if your contract states that you must live there as your ‘only or principal home’.
Other joint-contract-holders may also be able to end your right to occupy the property if they think you no longer live there and your contract states that you must live there as your ‘only or principal home’.
Another joint contract-holder can only do this by getting a court order. Another joint contract-holder can only do this by getting a court order.
The court can’t grant an order ending your rights to live there if another person has caused you to stay away from the property through anti-social behaviour. Anti-social behaviour can include behaving violently, making threats or other forms of domestic abuse.
Eviction by your partner
If you are living with a partner, civil partner or spouse, they may try to evict you from your home if you split up. However, they may not have the right to do this and you may be able to prevent this from happening. The section on relationship breakdown explains your rights.
If you have to leave
If there is nothing you can do to stop yourself being evicted, you will have to look for somewhere else to live. Have a look at our Finding a place to live pages which will help you think about your options.
If you are about to become homeless, you might be able to get help from the council. The council has a legal duty to provide advice and assistance to people who are threatened with homelessness. Click here for more information on how the council can help you if you are threatened with homelessness.