COUNCIL EVICTION PROCESS: This page explains eviction procedures of council or housing association tenants.
Find information on legal grounds for eviction and the tenant notice period. This guide also clarifies what rulings a court can decide.
There are certain times when you may stop or delay the eviction. Charities such as Shelter or Citizens Advice can give you personal advice.
You may also get help on the hearing day from an adviser in the court building if your case gets heard in court.
Note: If you get evicted it means your landlord has ended your tenancy agreement. It also means you will have to vacate your property.
Basic Steps of Eviction
There are some basic steps your council or housing association must take to evict you. As a rule it depends on the type of tenancy that you have. The 4 basic steps of eviction are as follows:
- You receive written notice of the council or housing association intent to evict you.
- You should either leave or come to an agreement with your landlord. If not, the council or housing association can then apply to the court for a possession order.
- If this occurs the court will decide whether you can get evicted from housing association property.
- What happens if you still refuse to leave the property? In this case bailiffs can remove you and your personal belongings.
Note: You can report squatters in a council property to the local authority online if you are living in England or Wales.
Council Eviction Notice
Your council or housing association cannot evict you without some advance warning. They have a legal duty to provide you with a formal written notice of eviction. The warning notice must state that they are planning to evict you from the property.
The terms of an advance notice to evict will depend on the type of tenancy you have. As a rule they must tell you why they are evicting you and give you at least 4 weeks’ notice and 2 months in other cases.
You have a better chance to keep your home if you make a prompt reply to the written notice.
Note: A council or housing association can start eviction proceedings immediately if:
- You are responsible for acts of domestic violence.
- You do anything considered to be serious anti-social behaviour (e.g. drug-dealing).
What happens if you ignore the notice to evict and stay in the property? The council or housing association can apply to the court for permission to evict you. They can start the same court proceedings if they are not satisfied with your response to their notice.
Eviction for Rent Arrears Housing Association
What happens if you face eviction over unpaid rent? The council or housing association must perform ‘pre-action protocol’ before they take you to court. That means they must:
- Do their best to discuss your arrears as early as possible.
- Provide you with detailed information about your arrears.
- Offer you help and a chance to make a claim for housing benefit support.
- Agree to delay court action if you make a reasonable offer to pay off your rent arrears.
Note: Read more on ‘Pre-Action Protocol for Possession Claims by Social Landlords’ for further information.
At the Court Hearing
The council or housing association eviction process means they need permission from a court before they can evict you. If this happens you will receive papers confirming the date of the court hearing.
Note: You have the opportunity to tell your side of the story at the hearing if you want to.
If you get taken to one of the courts in the United Kingdom they have the power to:
- Issue a possession order. That gives the council or housing association permission to evict you from the property.
- Decide that evicting you was not justified and any eviction proceedings would then stop.
- Issue a suspended or postponed possession order. That would give you a final chance to reach an agreement and avoid eviction.
After the Court Hearing
If you get a possession order it will state the date when you must leave the property by. Your council or housing association can ask the court to send a bailiff if you do not leave by that date.
Bailiffs have the legal power to remove you and any of your belongings. If that happens the court will inform you of the date the bailiffs will arrive.
Your local council may offer you emergency housing accommodation or some temporary housing. Most often this would be a hostel or a Bed and Breakfast type of accommodation. That would give you an opportunity to find another property.
ALSO IN THIS SECTION
Housing and Local Services: Information on local government housing rules and regional services.
Landlord Harassment: Advice for dealing with harassment and illegal evictions by private landlords.
Emergency Council Housing: How to get emergency housing if you are homeless in the United Kingdom.
Eviction Process for Private Renting: What is the eviction process for private tenants in the UK?
Court Hearing for Tenant Eviction: How does a court possession hearing proceed in England?
Accelerated Possession Procedure: Find out what it is and how to get an accelerated possession order.
Squatting and the Law: What is squatters’ rights and how to remove squatters from your property.