What you need to know about eviction

The following information is set as a guide for your information. As circumstances may vary it is always best to seek advice from appropriate services.


If you are a private tenant, housing association tenant or local authority tenant, your landlord has to follow the correct legal procedure to evict you.


Most tenants can only be evicted in certain circumstances. Landlords also have to follow specific legal procedures before tenants can be evicted. These usually start when your landlord gives you notice in writing that you will have to leave. You can negotiate with your landlord at this point.

The landlord has to give reasons why you are being evicted; they may include, for example, showing that the tenancy agreement (assured short hold tenants) has ended, or that there is unpaid rent.

If you are an assured or secure (housing association or local authority) tenant your landlord must give either one month, two months or 14 days' notice depending on the reason you are being evicted.

If you owe rent to your landlord it is likely you can be evicted regardless of your type of tenancy. But even if you have rent arrears the landlord still has to follow legal procedures before you can be evicted. This usually involves giving you written notice then applying for a court order, once the notice expires.

If you are an assured or a secure tenant and your landlord wants to evict you for these reasons the court will only make a possession order if it is reasonable to do so. You will have the chance to put your side of the story to the court.

Most landlords need to get a possession order from the court before a tenant can be evicted. There are several different types of court orders. Your landlord has to get permission from the court before you can be evicted. This is called 'applying for possession'. If the court gives your landlord a possession order this ends your legal right to live there. It also gives them the right to apply for a warrant to evict you. At court you can argue your case and often it is possible to negotiate and ask the judge to let you pay off your arrears in instalments or offer to make assurances to stop any offensive behaviour, and avoid being evicted.

Sometimes the court delays making an order. or it may decide not to make an order. This could be because the landlord has not followed the proper legal process. With some types of tenancy, if the court thinks that eviction is too harsh, they can suspend an order on terms (suspended possession order), for example if you agree a payment plan to settle your arrears or agree to stop any offensive behaviour.

If the court agrees with your landlord, it will make an order giving you a short time before you have to leave. This is usually between 14 and 28 days. If you don't leave, the landlord can ask for a warrant (of execution) and the court bailiffs will be able to evict you.

The court may side with you against the landlord and not make an order at all.

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Information on eviction from Shelter