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Get help if you're being evicted

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

If you’re about to be evicted from your home, you might be able to get help from the Housing Executive.

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

  1. Give you a valid Notice to Quit
  2. Get a possession order from court if you haven’t left by the date on your Notice to Quit
  3. Apply to the court for an enforcement order
  4. Ask officers from the Enforcement of Judgements office to make you leave your home

If your landlord hasn’t gone to court yet, it’s worth checking your Notice to Quit first to make sure it’s valid.

If your Notice to Quit 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.

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

Contact the Housing Executive to find out what help you might be able to get.

Check if the Housing Executive has to help you

The Housing Executive has to find you somewhere to live if:

  • you have one or more children who live with you aged under 16, or under 19 if they’re in full-time education or on a government training scheme
  • you or any member of your household is pregnant
  • you or someone in your family is 'vulnerable' because they're elderly or have a mental illness, physical disability or other reason
  • you’re been made homeless as a result of an emergency, for example a fire or flood
  • you’re at risk of domestic violence or abuse

If you need a place to stay the night, you should contact the Simon Community on 0800 171 2222. They might be able to offer you a space in one of their hostels.

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

Make a homeless application

You should speak to the Housing Executive District Office as soon as you know you’re going to be homeless.

It can take up to 33 working days to get a decision from the Housing Executive. They will look at your situation to see if they can help you. You need to give the Housing Executive all the information it needs so it can make a decision. Read more about what evidence you need to give.

If the Housing Executive 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 Housing Executive District Office as soon as it opens. You should get a decision from a housing officer the same day about what help they can give you.

You should take:

  • your rent book
  • proof of your identity, for example your passport
  • evidence of why you have to leave your home, for example your Notice to Quit
  • bank statement or wage slips
  • a letter from your GP if you're pregnant

Read more information about making a homelessness application on the Housing Executive.

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’re a British citizen living in the UK and you’ve not recently lived abroad
  • 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 Notice to Quit
  • 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 the Housing Executive

The Housing Executive will look at your situation and decide whether to find you somewhere to live.

You should get a letter telling you the Housing Executive's decision within 33 working days.

If the Housing Executive can help you, you’ll usually be given short-term housing until a suitable home is available.

The Housing Executive might be able to find you emergency housing even if they can't find you a long-term place to live.

If the Housing Executive can’t help you

If you disagree with the Housing Executive's decision, you might be able to ask them to review it. You’ll have 28 days from the date of the decision to request a review.

The Housing Executive 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 they can’t help you find somewhere else to live.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you want to challenge a Housing Executive 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:

  • Housing Benefit  - read more information on who can apply
  • a loan to help pay for a deposit or help from a discretionary support scheme - get more information on our website
  • a discretionary housing payment (DHP)

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.

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