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If you're being evicted for abandoning your home

Mae’r cyngor hwn yn berthnasol i Cymru

Your landlord might be able to evict you if they think you’ve left your home and you’re not coming back - this is called ‘abandonment’. 

Your landlord can’t evict you for abandonment if you’ve told them you’re going to be away from your home.

Your landlord can only legally evict you for abandoning your home if all the following are true:

  • your occupation contract says you must live in the property as your main or only home - usually if you rent from a council or housing association
  • you don’t tell your landlord if you’re going away or respond when your landlord asks where you are
  • you get a warning notice - called ‘form RHW27’
  • 4 weeks after the warning notice, you get an eviction notice - called ‘form RHW28’

If you don’t have an occupation contract, your landlord can’t legally evict you for abandoning your home. 

Most tenancies have been replaced by occupation contracts. Check what type of contract you have if you’re not sure.

If your landlord is trying to evict you

Your landlord must follow the legal process to evict you for abandoning your home.

Your landlord must send you a warning notice - it should say ‘RHW27’ at the top of the notice. 

You’ll have 4 weeks from the date of the notice to respond to your landlord. You should explain why you’ve been away and when you plan to come back. For example explain you’ve been caring for a family member outside the UK and you’ll be back next month. 

Send your response by email or text message so you have proof of what you said. Your landlord must stop the eviction process because they know you haven’t abandoned your home.

If you don’t respond, your landlord must use these 4 weeks to try to contact you to make sure you know about the warning notice. They must also try other ways to find out if you’ve abandoned your home - for example by asking your neighbours or checking if your post is piling up.

If your landlord still thinks you’ve abandoned your home after 4 weeks, they can evict you. They don’t need a court order but they must send you another notice to tell you your contract has ended - it should say ‘RHW28’ at the top of the notice.

If your landlord doesn’t follow the legal process to evict you for abandoning your home, you might be able to challenge the eviction. 

Getting your belongings back

After your landlord gives you the RHW28 notice to say your contract has ended, they have to keep your belongings for 4 weeks. 

They don’t have to keep any food left in the property or things that would be too expensive or inconvenient to store. 

Your landlord might ask you to pay back any money they had to spend on storage before they give back your belongings. 

If you don’t collect your belongings within 4 weeks, your landlord can get rid of them.

Challenging your eviction

If you think your landlord has wrongly evicted you, try explaining your situation to your landlord and asking them to let you back into the property. 

If they refuse to let you back into the property, you could challenge your landlord’s decision in court. You must do this within 6 months of the date on your warning notice.

The court might reverse the landlord’s decision and order them to let you back into your home. If someone else is renting the property you used to live in, the court can order your landlord to give you somewhere else to live.

It’s best to get help before you go to court because it can be complicated and stressful. You might be able to get help with the cost - check if you can get ​​free or affordable legal help.

Make sure you tell the court if:

  • your landlord didn’t follow the right process to evict you - include what exactly they did wrong
  • you‘ve had to spend money because of the eviction - for example if you had to pay for a hotel
  • you or someone you lived with experienced health issues or emotional distress because of losing your home or your belongings

If you need help to challenge your eviction, talk to an adviser.

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