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Get help if you're being evicted

This advice applies to England

If you’re about to be evicted from your home, you might be able to get help from your local council.

You can only be evicted if your landlord has followed the proper steps. They must:

  1. Give you a valid section 21 or section 8 notice
  2. Get a possession order from court if you haven’t left by the date on the section 21 or section 8 notice
  3. Ask the court for a warrant of possession if you haven’t left by the date on the possession order
  4. Get an eviction warrant from the court - this means bailiffs can make you leave your home

If your landlord hasn’t gone to court yet, it’s worth checking your section 21 notice or checking your section 8 notice first to make sure it’s valid.

If your section 21 or section 8 notice isn't valid, you might be able to challenge the eviction and stay in your home.

If you have nowhere to stay tonight

You might be able to find emergency housing if you’re already homeless.

Your local council might be able help you find a place in a local hostel, night shelter or bed and breakfast, for example.

Contact your local council to find out what help you might be able to get.

Check if your local council has to help you

Your local council has to find you somewhere to live if you're homeless and all of these apply:

  • you're eligible for help, for example if you’re a British or Irish citizen living in the UK and you’ve not recently lived abroad
  • you’re in ‘priority need’, for example you're pregnant or have children who live with you aged under 16 (or under 18 if they're in full-time education)
  • it’s not your fault you’re homeless, for example if your landlord has evicted you without a reason
  • you have a 'local connection', for example you live or work in the area

You might also be in priority need if you're disabled or have a long-term illness and being evicted could make your condition worse.

It can be difficult to prove to your local council that they have to help you. Get help from your nearest Citizens Advice - they can tell you what to say.

If your council doesn’t have to find you somewhere to live

Your local council might help you in other ways if they don’t have to find you somewhere to live.

The help you can get depends on your situation and what your local council can give you - each one is different.

Ask your local council if they can:

  • give you advice on how to find a home
  • help you pay for the deposit for a new home
  • pay your rent in advance if you find a new home
  • help with moving costs

If you get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit to help pay your rent, your local council might also be able to find a private landlord who accepts tenants on benefits.

It’s also worth looking at other ways of finding somewhere else to live. For example, joining the housing register and applying to local housing associations.

Read more about finding a new home to rent.

Make a homeless application

You should speak to your local council as soon as you know you’re going to be homeless.

It can take up to 33 working days to get a decision from your council - but they might have to find you a temporary place to live while they make a decision.

You can find your local council’s contact details on GOV.UK.

If the council thinks you’re going to be made homeless within 28 days, they might be able to find you somewhere else to live.

It’s worth going to your local council office as soon as it opens. The housing officer will be able to give you advice and answer any questions you have.

You should take:

  • proof of your identity, for example your passport
  • your tenancy agreement, if you have one
  • evidence of why you have to leave your home, for example an eviction notice
  • someone with you if you want to, like a friend or family member to support you and take notes

Talking to a housing officer

Tell the housing officer about your situation and why you’re being made homeless.

The housing officer should explain the application process to you. They’ll look at your situation and decide whether they can help you. This could be help finding somewhere to live or advice about your other options.

The housing officer will look at things like if you’re:

  • in priority need, for example if you’re considered vulnerable because you’re disabled or have a long-term illness
  • eligible for help, for example if you live permanently in the UK
  • intentionally homeless, for example if you left a property you could have stayed in
  • about to be homeless, for example if your landlord has given you a valid section 21 notice
  • already homeless, for example if you’re staying at a friend’s house because you’ve been evicted

You can ask the housing officer for confirmation in writing that your application is being processed. If your council won’t help you, ask them to confirm this in writing - and get their reasons why.

Getting a decision from your local council

Your local council will look at your situation and decide whether to find you somewhere to live.

You should get a letter telling you the council’s decision within 33 working days.

If your local council can help you, you’ll usually be given short-term housing until a suitable home is available. Your local council could also help you find a privately rented home where you’ll be able to stay for at least 12 months.

Your local council might be able to find you emergency housing even if they can't find you a long-term place to live.

If your local council can’t help you

If you disagree with your local council’s decision, you can ask them to review it. You’ll have 21 days from the date of the decision to request a review.

Your local council has to give you advice on how to find a new home even if they can’t help you get one, for example the details of letting agents and hostels. The advice you’ll get depends on your situation and why your council can’t help you find somewhere else to live.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you want to challenge your local council’s decision.

Check if you can get extra money

You might be able to get extra money if you need help finding somewhere to live.

Check if you can get:

Make sure you get your tenancy deposit back

Don’t forget to get your tenancy deposit back from your landlord after you move out. Read more about getting your tenancy deposit back.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you need help with the cost of finding somewhere to live.

Get help from social services

If your council can’t find you a home, you might be able to get help with a deposit for somewhere to live from your council’s social services department.

Social services might be able to help you if, for example:

  • you’re under 18
  • you have left care or are about to leave
  • you have children who live with you

You should contact your local council’s social services department to find out if they can help you.

Other help you can get

Read the fact sheets on the National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS).

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