Asking the council to review their decision to evict you

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

If you’re an introductory or demoted council tenant, you can ask your landlord to review their decision to evict you. If you’re a different kind of tenant, you can challenge your eviction with a defence form.

You can check your tenancy type on Shelter’s website.

The review is the best chance you have to stay in your home. If the review fails, the court will decide you must leave your home - unless your landlord hasn’t followed the correct process or there are special circumstances.

You have 14 days from the date you got your notice to ask for a review - your notice should tell you how to ask for a review. It can be a face-to-face hearing or you can write a letter to argue your case.

It’s best to ask for a face-to-face hearing if you feel able to - it gives you a chance to put forward your case and hear any evidence your landlord has.

The review will be with the council, not the court. They’ll make sure the person carrying out the review has not been involved in your case before.

Talk to your nearest Citizens Advice if you need help building your case for your review.

If you choose a face-to-face hearing

The hearing must be held 5 or more days after you asked for it.

If you choose this, you could:

  • call people to give evidence for you

  • put questions to anyone who gives evidence

  • take someone with you for support or to take notes

  • get someone else to represent you - you should always attend even if you don’t have someone to represent you

If you decide to write a letter

Once you’ve asked for the review, the council must give you at least 5 days to send your defence in writing.

If you’re a demoted tenant, the council must get your letter 2 days before your review.

You don’t need to use a special form - you can just write a letter. Make a copy of what you write so you have a record.

Making your case to stay in your home

Whether you choose a hearing or to write a letter, use the review to explain why you’re challenging the eviction and why you think you should stay in your home.

It's best to give as much detail as possible - the council will look at your situation to decide whether you can stay in your home.

Gather any evidence you have to support your case. For example, a doctor’s note or medical evidence if you couldn’t pay your rent because you were ill.

Councils usually have a policy on how they deal with rent arrears or introductory tenancies - check their policy online to see if they’ve followed it. If they haven’t, you should mention it during the review.

Give the reasons for your problems

You should explain your side of the story. For example, say if you couldn’t pay your rent because you lost your job or were in hospital.

If you have a health condition or disability, you should tell your landlord. If they didn’t know before, they won’t have been able to make adjustments for it. If you tell them now, they could decide to stop the eviction.

Explain how you're making the situation better

The council will look at what you’ve been doing to make the situation better.

If you can prove you’re trying to fix the situation, the council might decide not to evict you.

Make sure to mention if you:

  • are paying off your rent arrears each week or you’ve paid for repairs to any damage you caused

  • have applied for any benefits or a new job if you’re in rent arrears

  • might be able to pay your rent soon - for example because you’ll receive your first Universal Credit payment

Note any mistakes in your notice

If there are any mistakes in the council’s notice, explain them.

For example, mention if the amount of rent arrears is wrong, or if it accuses you of anti-social behaviour that you didn’t do.

Getting a decision

The council must tell you their decision in writing before the date you’re being asked to leave.

If your review was unsuccessful

The council must tell you why the review didn’t succeed.

If they’ve followed the right steps, you’ll usually be evicted.

You can only challenge the council’s decision if the landlord didn’t follow their own process or there were special circumstances. Speak to a specialist at your nearest Citizens Advice if you want to challenge your council's decision.

If you think the council haven’t followed their own policies, you can also complain to the local government ombudsman. This won’t mean you can stay in your home though. Check your council’s website on GOV.UK to see what their policies are. 

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Page last reviewed on 20 March 2018