Threatened with homelessness

Evictions and arrears

If your landlord believes that you have broken any of the rules of your tenancy agreement including if you fall behind with your rent, they may decide to ask you to leave the property. Your landlord cannot just ask you to leave, they will have to follow the correct legal procedure to evict you from the property.

Whether or not your landlord can evict you and how the process works will depend on the type of tenancy you have. You will need to have a look at your tenancy agreement.

You can find the government rules that landlords must follow here.

Rent arrears

You can get advice if you’re in rent arrears or having difficulty in paying your rent from:

Can my landlord evict me?

The first step your landlord has to take in order to evict you is to issue a written notice. If you have not received a written notice, then this is not a proper eviction and you will not need to leave the property. The notice should:

  • state how much notice your landlord is giving you, this should be usually at least 2 months
  • state the date that your landlord wants you to leave
  • state that the possession is required under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988

If you haven't left by the time your notice ends, your landlord will usually have to apply for a possession order where the court will write to you and give you a date to leave your property.

If you haven't left by the date the court says you have to, your landlord can arrange for a bailiff to evict you. Bailiffs are employed by the court and can physically remove you and your belongings from the property but must not use violence or unreasonable force.

What should I do if my landlord asks me to leave?

If you have been issued an eviction notice, have been asked to leave by your landlord or think you are being illegally evicted please get advice as soon as possible by contacting us, speaking to Citizens Advice Bureau or contacting Shelter.

Illegal evictions

Some landlords may force or lock their tenants out without following the correct legal procedure, usually when they do not have proper grounds for eviction or they want to avoid following the correct procedure. This is known as an illegal eviction.

If your landlord tries to evict you illegally, they may be committing a serious criminal offence. Illegal eviction may include:

  • changing the locks while you are out
  • physically throwing you out
  • threatening you and forcing you to leave
  • stopping you from getting access to certain parts of your home
  • not issuing a proper written eviction notice

Further information

For more support and advice please contact our Housing Options team here.