What is eviction?
Eviction is the legal process landlords must follow in order to remove tenants and regain their property. There must be a valid reason as to why the landlord wants to remove you. Your tenancy agreement will afford you certain rights and protection under the law.
If you're threatened with eviction you must act early. You can seek advice from the Students’ Union Advice Centre (SUAC). Link Grounds for possession: The type of tenancy you have will determine the grounds under which a landlord can evict you. The majority of students will have Assured Shorthold Tenancies link to Understanding your contract page and most of these will be ‘fixed term’. This means grounds for possession are as follows:
- The mortgage payments are in arrears and the lender wishes to take possession, or
- The tenant owes at least two months’ rent (if paid monthly) or eight weeks (if paid weekly)
Discretionary (any or all of the following)
- The tenant is in arrears with the rent when the landlord seeks possession and court proceedings begin.
- The tenant is persistently late with rent payments.
- The tenancy has breached the tenancy agreement.
- The tenant has damaged the property or through neglect has allowed its condition to worsen.
- The tenant is causing a nuisance – or has used the property for illegal or immoral purposes.
- The tenant has damaged the furniture, or allowed its condition to worsen due to neglect.
- The tenant provided false information when the tenancy was agreed.
What happens if these grounds apply to me?
- If any of the above applies the landlord must serve you with a written notice for possession and give you a date when he wants you to have left by.
- If you disagree with him, or want to stay on in the property, he needs to be granted a ‘possession order’.
- To do this, he must fill in an application stating why he wishes to evict you and send it to the court after the notice of possession deadline has been reached.
- The court will then send you a summons stating what is happening and detailing why the landlord wants possession.
- If you disagree with what the landlord is saying, you should state the reasons why on the form and provide evidence, if applicable.
If you are asking for the eviction date to be extended you should complete the reply form attached to the summons and provide supporting evidence.
Once the court has received the form a hearing date will be set. If your tenancy agreement has come to an end you must send back the form or a hearing may not take place.
What happens at a hearing?
- The judge will listen to both you, and your landlord, and make a decision as to whether a possession order should be granted.
- If the judge agrees with your landlord, the Court may grant an ‘Absolute Possession Order’ that would give you a date by which you have to leave the property.
- Alternatively, a ‘Suspended Possession Order’ may be granted, which would let you stay in the property, provided you adhered to certain terms and conditions.
- Once a possession order has been granted, if you fail to leave by the agreed date the landlord can ask court bailiffs to evict you.
Harassment and illegal eviction
- If your landlord does not follow the procedures explained here they are committing a criminal act.
- If they harass you, this is also a criminal offence, and can take many forms.
- If you feel you are being harassed make a note of the events/times/dates and send them to your landlord (after keeping a copy).
- If it continues you must seek advice.
For further help contact SUAC