Stop your eviction from going to court

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

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 type of occupation contract you have - occupation contracts have replaced tenancies

  • the reason you’re being evicted

If your eviction 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.

Talk to an adviser 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

Talk to an adviser if you think your landlord is discriminating against you.

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 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 an adviser 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 done 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 an adviser if you think your landlord hasn’t done repairs when they should have.

Going to the court hearing

Your landlord will have to prove the reason they’re evicting you. They’ll need to prove either:

  • you haven’t paid your rent as agreed in your contract

  • you had ‘serious rent arrears’ on the date of your court hearing and when you got your notice

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

If you have a standard contract, 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 if they think you’ve broken the rules in your contract about anti-social behaviour. This usually happens where the anti-social behaviour was in your home or the local area.

You could be evicted:

  • for causing or threatening to cause a nuisance to your neighbours, your landlord or people doing work on your home - for example, playing loud music late at night

  • for using, or threatening to use your home or shared areas for illegal purposes - for example, using your home to grow cannabis

  • if someone you live with or someone who’s visiting you is involved in anti-social behaviour

The court might let you stay on the condition that the anti-social behaviour stops. This will be more likely if you can prove the behaviour has stopped since you got the eviction notice.

You should also check your landlord’s policy on dealing with anti-social behaviour - there might be steps they need to follow before they can evict you.

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’re being evicted for a different reason

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

  • being demolished 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 landlord if they haven’t offered you another home and you’ve been asked to leave for one of these reasons. It’s best to talk to an adviser - they might be able to negotiate with your landlord or help you defend your case.

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Page last reviewed on 01 December 2022