You may have a formal housing agreement with a landlord – a tenancy – or an informal one with friends or family. Whatever the arrangement, if you’re being forced to leave your home, you are being evicted from it. It can feel frightening and overwhelming to be in this situation. Thankfully, help is available.
It is illegal for a landlord to evict you without following the correct legal steps and you don’t have to leave when they first give you notice. You can also challenge an eviction that isn’t valid. It’s your right to do so.
On this page, we’ll cover the following topics and questions and tell you about the support that’s available out there. Contact the Centrepoint Helpline if you would like to talk this through.
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What is an eviction?
An eviction is when you are asked to leave a property by a landlord. The landlord must follow a strict legal process to be able to do this.
I’m being evicted from temporary accommodation
Shelter outline why your council might evict you from temporary accommodation. It’s important to note that you may be evicted from temporary housing if you refuse a final offer of longer-term housing.
If you’ve been asked to leave temporary housing:
Get everything in writing. This will help you to challenge the eviction if you would like to
Talk to your support worker, if you have one. Discuss whether they have a plan in place for help moving on to somewhere else.
Contact your housing officer who should be helping you with your personal housing plan.
Make a new homeless application if your old one has been closed. The council must assess you and provide emergency housing if you qualify.
I’m being evicted from a private landlord
If you’re renting privately, your landlord will probably need to send you a section 21 or 8 notice to start the eviction process.
Most landlords can't legally evict you without going to court. They need to follow the legal eviction process. If they don’t, the eviction is illegal and you can challenge it.
How much notice does a landlord need to give to evict you?
It depends what agreement or contract you have with the landlord. For example:
Assured shorthold tenancy
You probably have this type of agreement if you pay rent to a private landlord. They need to give you at least two months’ written notice that they want the property back. This date needs to be at least six months after your original tenancy began.
Excluded tenancy or licence
You’ll probably have this type of agreement if you live with your landlord as a lodger and share rooms with them. If you have this arrangement, your landlord only needs to give ‘reasonable notice’ to quit. Usually this means if you pay rent monthly, you’ll get one month’s notice.
This is an agreement that lasts for a a set amount of time, like a year. Your landlord can ask you to leave during the first six months of your agreement without giving a reason. They must give you a valid eviction notice and at least 90 days’ notice.
If your landlord has followed the proper eviction process, they can legally evict you for the following reasons:
Damage to the property
Falling behind with your rent
Doing something which goes against or breaches your agreement with the landlord
Your landlord wants the property back
Your landlord thinks you aren’t living in the property
There are different types of eviction notice. A section 21 notice doesn't require your landlord to give a reason for evicting you.
Can my landlord kick me out?
Yes, your landlord can kick you out if they follow a strict legal process correctly. The time this process takes can depend on what eviction notice you are served and other factors, such as the time it takes for your landlord to apply for a possession order and if the courts are busy.
- You will get an eviction notice from your landlord. This needs to be valid.
You don’t have to leave your home straight away. In fact, if you do leave straight away without anywhere to go, it may affect what support you can get from the council. The council may say that you’re ‘intentionally homeless’. So, check what notice period you have been given and use the time to challenge the decision, make a homeless application or find somewhere else to live.
It is best to stay where you are until you have somewhere else to live, even if you are still in the property on the date that the landlord wants you out.
If you're still there on the date the landlord wants you to leave, they will usually have to go to the county court to start the eviction process.
You’ll get some documents from the court. You can fill these in to challenge the eviction.
There may be a hearing in court. A judge decides if the eviction will go ahead based on the information you and your landlord have given.
If the court decides to evict you, they will make a ‘court order for possession’ which means you have to leave your home by a specific date.
If you don’t leave your home by the specific date the court suggested, your landlord can ask court bailiffs to evict you. This can take a number of weeks. But the bailiffs must give you two weeks’ notice of the eviction date.
Only the court bailiffs can evict you from your home. They can change your locks on the eviction day.
If you’re evicted by bailiffs, you would be expected to pay your landlord’s court costs, unless you are entitled to legal aid. You may be entitled to help paying for this if the council says you need to go through the full eviction process before you are considered homeless and you won’t get legal aid. But getting this help from the council is rare. Talk to your housing officer.
What types of eviction notices are there?
Your landlord will use this eviction notice if they think you have done something which goes against what you agreed in your tenancy agreement with them and they believe they have a legal reason to end it (under Schedule 2 Housing Act 1988).
Also called a ‘no fault eviction’, this is the most common type of eviction notice. Your landlord can use this eviction notice even if you haven’t done something which goes against your tenancy agreement. They don’t have to give a reason for doing so, but do need to give two months' notice. You might also get this type of eviction notice when your tenancy agreement has ended.
Notice to quit
You will get this eviction notice if you have a less formal tenancy agreement with your landlord.
Court order for possession
This is the eviction notice you’ll get from a court after there has been a hearing about the eviction. It will include a date by when you must leave the property.
Your landlord will probably need to go to court to evict you. Then, only bailiffs from the court can carry out the eviction.
If you’ve been kicked out or locked out of your home by your landlord without warning, the eviction is probably not valid. There is a process to follow and intimidating or threatening you means the eviction is illegal.
You can challenge an eviction that isn’t valid. It’s understandable that you might feel uncomfortable going down this route, but it’s important to explore all the available options before surrendering your home.
There are various other reasons why the eviction might not be valid. They depend on which eviction notice you have been served.
For example, for a section 21 eviction notice to be valid, your landlord will need to:
Use a specific form to write your eviction notice. This is called Form 6a and it’s available from the government website. Take a look at the form and notice the official language. If your landlord hasn’t used this to write the eviction notice you have received, or if they use an older version of the form, then it’s invalid. A text message, email or other informal communication isn’t a valid eviction notice. If you receive one like this, you can challenge the eviction.
Have already given you a copy of your current gas safety certificate and a valid energy performance certificate. If they haven’t done this, you can challenge the eviction notice.
Have given you two months’ notice to leave your home.
Visit Shelter’s website for more on checking if a section 21 eviction notice is valid.
Visit Shelter’s website to find out if a section 8 eviction notice is valid.
Contact our Helpline if you need support figuring out if your eviction notice is valid.
If you’re over 18 and living with your parents, yes, they can legally kick you out if you aren’t named on the rental agreement or mortgage.
If your family have asked you to leave, it’s a good idea to contact your local council to make a homelessness application.
This could mean you get access to family mediation to try to resolve any conflict. Both you and your parents must agree to mediation for it to take place. It involves talking to someone who doesn’t know you or your parents. The council shouldn’t suggest mediation as an option if you’ve mentioned any kind of abuse at home.
You’ll talk to this other person in meetings separate from your parents, over weeks. With the mediator, you’ll work out different ways you could reach a compromise or solution.
You could also try the Family Mediation Council.
If you’re under 18, you should be able to get housing support from social services. Find out more advice for under 18s.
The council will need to go through the steps involved in the legal eviction process which could take months. So, you won’t have to leave your home straight away.
It’s useful to check what type of tenancy you have. You can use this tenancy checker tool to do this. Knowing this will give you more information about your rights.
Then, get some legal advice about what to do next.
There are a few reasons why you may be being evicted from council housing. Falling behind in rent, for example, or antisocial behaviour.
Perhaps you are living in council housing and your parent or guardian has died and you’re wondering what your rights are. It’s best to check your tenancy to see what it says about ‘succession’ – whether you inherit the rental agreement.
Will the council rehouse me if I get evicted?
If you have been legally evicted and are homeless, the council may not rehouse you but they have a duty to help you find somewhere else to live. To access this help, you need to make a homeless application at your local council.
You may be deemed 'intentionally homeless' if you leave your property before the end of your notice period and have nowhere else to go. So, check what notice period you have been given and use the time to challenge the decision, make a homeless application or find somewhere else to live.
Talk to your landlord. Have a look at the reasons why they want you to move out on the eviction notice. Perhaps the reason can be negotiated. For example, if they say you have damaged the property and you can fix this or you can pay any rent that you owe.
Check that the eviction is valid. Your landlord will need to go through the eviction process for the eviction notice to be valid.
Tell the court why you shouldn’t be evicted. To do this, you need to fill in a form called N244 which is available on the government website and send it back to the court. Shelter has advice on what to include. It’s best to seek legal advice for filling this in.
- Attend the court hearing. If you don’t go to the hearing, the eviction will go ahead. Take any relevant evidence with you. The evidence you take would depend on the reason you've been given for the eviction:
For example, if you're being served a 'no fault eviction' or Section 21, there's not much you can bring apart from any evidence that proves you've been a good tenant, such as paperwork that shows you've paid your bills on time and reported issues using the correct channels of communication.
If you're being given eviction notice for reasons like anti-social behaviour, and there are reasons behind any of your behaviour, such as mental or physical health conditions, then it would be a good idea to bring medical documents or letters from healthcare professionals.
If you're being evicted for falling behind on rent, then you could bring evidence that state you've lost your job, started to claim benefits, or proof of any payments delays from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
- Meet the conditions of a suspended eviction. If a judge at the hearing says that they will put the eviction on hold until you have met certain conditions, you will need to do what you agreed to. For example, this might be paying your rent.
How do I get another rented property after an eviction?
If you have been legally evicted and are homeless, it’s best to make a homeless application at your local council, if you haven’t already. They have a duty to help you find somewhere else to live.
When you are looking for your next property, you could consider getting a reference from a previous landlord rather than the one who has evicted you. That’s if you were evicted for things like antisocial behaviour, not sticking to your tenancy agreement or not paying your rent. Other eviction reasons may not negatively affect the reference that you get from your landlord. For example, if your landlord wants to sell the property.
It’s a good idea to get some legal advice if you have an eviction notice.
- Contact the Centrepoint Helpline who can connect you with local services.
If you’re living in Centrepoint accommodation, you may be able to get free support through our legal centre. Ask your key worker for more information.
You can also contact:
Civil Legal Advice
Get in touch with a Law Centre.
Find your nearest Law Centre on their website.
Ask to speak to the private lettings team at your local council.