What to do if you’re facing eviction 

The prospect of being evicted is scary but there is support out there. Our homeless prevention services work with people facing eviction and have put these 5 tips together to help if you or someone you know needs it. 

1. Find out what kind of tenancy you are in 

You can usually find out what kind of tenancy you’re under by looking at your rental agreement. This will determine your rights and the eviction process. Most private renters are under assured shorthold tenancy (AST) contracts. If you live with your landlord, you might be a lodger. If you’re renting from your council or a housing association, then you will most likely be in an assured or secure tenancy 

2. Find out what type of eviction you’ve been served with

You will have a different notice period depending on the kind of tenancy you’re in and the kind of eviction notice that’s being used. There are lots of resources online about this which you can refer to like Shelter’s eviction knowledgebase which will give you information on the different kinds of eviction notices and what each one entails. 

If you are under an AST contract, you can be given a Section 21 or Section 8 notice 

A Section 21 notice is sometimes called a ‘no fault’ eviction because there doesn’t need to be a reason for it to happen. The notice period for this kind of eviction is currently 2 months 

A Section 8 notice requires a legal reason or ‘ground’. This could be because of accruing rent arrears or issues with antisocial behaviour. Notice periods can be as short as two weeks. 

Know your rights and make sure the eviction is legal. You cannot be asked to leave before your notice period ends. If you are a private renter, then you can only be evicted through bailiffs who will give you at least two-weeks notice. You should never be harassed by your landlord. If you feel you are being evicted illegally, then you may be able to contest it. 

3. Communicate and negotiate

There is often/always room to negotiate on payment terms and leave dates. Keep your communications with your landlord civil and keep a record of everything. Communicate with your landlord and keep a record of everything. Before or even during legal proceedings, it may be in your best interest to talk about your needs and see if you can come to an agreement with the landlord. If you are in arrears, then negotiating a pay-back plan could be an option. If you are staying beyond your notice period, you can negotiate a new leave date. 

4. Get the support you’re entitled to

If you are facing eviction with nowhere to go, then contact your Local Authority as soon as you possibly can through their housing support email or phone number. If you’re in arrears, you might qualify for financial support including Universal Credit, grants or a discretionary housing payment. The key is to let them know early and start a paper trail. The longer you wait the harder it can be to get the support you deserve.

5. Get advice

There are lots of places that you can get advice on finances and tenancy sustainment. Good impartial resources include  

  • Citizens advice – comprehensive information on tenancy agreements   
  • Shelter – Information on different areas of housing including tenancies, eviction and homelessness. You can also call their helpline on 0808 800 4444