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Stop your eviction from going to court

This advice applies to England

You might be able to do things to stop your landlord going to court to evict you.

What you can do will depend on the reason you’re being evicted - each tenancy type will have different reasons. These reasons are called ‘grounds for possession’.

Your landlord might not have to give a reason if you received a section 21 notice.

If your notice says you can ask for a review, you should do that. It’s your best chance of keeping your home. Find out more about the review process.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you need help with the next steps.

Check your landlord is treating you fairly

If your landlord knows you have a disability or you’re under 18, they should think about the eviction carefully before they start the process. 

They should consider if:

  • you’re able to challenge the eviction
  • you have trouble reading - they must help you understand all the information they give you and prove this to the court

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you think your landlord is discriminating against you.

Check if the council should give you another home

You must be given another suitable home if your landlord is the council and they’re evicting you because your current home is:

  • overcrowded 
  • being demolished or sold, or your landlord plans to carry out work on the building
  • specially adapted for disabled people but no disabled people live there
  • too big for the number of people living there and you got the house after the original named tenant died - this is called ‘succession’

You could be offered another home for other reasons - like if you were living in the home as part of your job and you left that job.

Contact your council if they haven’t offered you another home and you’ve been asked to leave for one of these reasons. Find your council on GOV.UK.

If you’re being evicted for rent arrears

Your landlord must take certain steps before they try to evict you for rent arrears - this is called the ‘pre-action protocol’.

Check what steps your landlord must follow

Your landlord must:

  • contact you to discuss your finances and why you’re behind with your rent as soon as possible
  • give you full details of your rent arrears
  • try to agree an affordable amount for you to pay off the arrears
  • help you apply for Housing Benefit or Universal Credit
  • try to contact you to discuss your arrears again after they’ve sent the notice
  • suggest you get advice from an independent organisation

Your landlord shouldn’t take you to court if you:

  • applied for benefits and you expect to get them
  • came to an agreement to pay off your arrears and you’re sticking to the agreement

If your landlord hasn’t followed these steps, you should write to them to challenge the eviction - keep a copy of the letter you send.

If the court process has already begun, you should mention that the landlord didn’t follow the correct steps when you come to fill in the defence form.

If your landlord hasn’t followed these steps, the court might be able to let you stay in your home - they could do this by dismissing, adjourning or suspending the case. Find out more about the different kinds of decisions a court can make.

They might also decide you don’t have to pay the court costs.

Talk to your local Citizens Advice if you don’t think your landlord has followed these steps.

Reduce your arrears

You should try to pay off as much of your rent arrears as you can before the court hearing - if you do, you might be able to stay in your home. Find out more about dealing with rent arrears.

Make sure you keep a record of what you've paid - you might need to prove it if your case goes to court. Take any receipts to court and check your records against your landlord’s records to see if you agree.

If your landlord hasn’t carried out repairs they were meant to, you might be able to use this to lower your arrears as well. Check what repairs they're responsible for.

You should talk to your nearest Citizens Advice if you think your landlord hasn’t carried out repairs when they should have.

Going to the court hearing

Your landlord will have to prove the amount of arrears you have to the court. They'll also need to show you had the arrears when you got your notice.

If you’re a secure tenant, the court will decide if it’s reasonable for you to leave your home.

If you’re an assured tenant, the court might still be able to decide if it’s reasonable for you to leave. It depends on the reason your landlord is using to evict you. Check the reason on your notice is valid.

If you’re being evicted for anti-social behaviour

Your landlord can evict you for anti-social behaviour - usually where it’s been in your home or the local area.

You could be evicted:

  • for causing or being likely to cause a nuisance to your neighbours - for example, playing loud music late at night
  • for being convicted of using your home for illegal purposes - for example, using your home to grow cannabis
  • for committing a crime in or near your home
  • if someone you live with or someone who’s visiting you is involved in anti-social behaviour

Ask the court to let you stay in your home - in some situations, they might let you stay on the condition that the anti-social behaviour stops. If it continues, the court will still be able to evict you.

You should also check your local council’s policy on dealing with anti-social behaviour - they might have certain steps they need to follow before they can evict you. Find your local council on GOV.UK.

If they haven’t followed their own process, you can use this to challenge the eviction. You can either call the landlord and negotiate with them, or you can mention it in the defence form.

If you’ve been evicted for a different reason

It’s best to get help from your nearest Citizens Advice - they might be able to negotiate with your landlord or help you defend your case. 

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