7 Things You Need to Know About Evictions

On 31st May 2021, the ban on evictions will be lifted and your landlord will be able to use bailiffs to remove you from their property. They can only do this if a valid eviction notice has been issued, the notice period has ended, and you have been taken to court.

Be aware that the information below applies to Assured Shorthold Tenancies and different rules apply if you are a lodger or licensee. You can’t always rely on what your tenancy agreement says. Some landlords will call you a licensee when you are, in fact, a tenant.

Call Burnley and Pendle Citizens Advice on 0800 144 8848 if you need to check your housing status or for any other questions about housing.

If you’ve received an eviction notice, there’s a few things you should know. Here are 7 of them…

1. There are two main types of eviction your landlord might use

These are Section 8 and Section 21. To evict under Section 8 your landlord must give a specific reason, known as grounds. The grounds normally relate to ways you might break the terms of your tenancy agreement and include things such as anti-social behaviour or non-payment of rent. Alternatively, your landlord may use Section 21. This is known as a no-fault eviction, as it allows the landlord to evict you from the property without giving a reason.

2. Your notice period tells you when you’re landlord can take you to court

Receiving an eviction notice doesn’t mean you need to leave your home straight away. An eviction notice simply lets you know your landlord intends to evict you once the relevant notice period has passed. If you are living in the property after this period ends, your landlord still needs to go to court to have you removed. The length of your notice period depends on the reason for your eviction, but in most cases during lockdown the notice period has been 6 months. To confirm you’ve been given the correct notice period and discuss your options during eviction, call our advisers on 0800 144 8848.

3. Your landlord must have taken these steps for your eviction to be valid

Your landlord has a duty to carry out gas safety checks and provide a gas safe certificate, give you the government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide, and protect your deposit in a deposit protection scheme. If they haven’t, you may find your eviction notice is invalid. If you live in a house in multiple occupation or in a selective licensing area, you should check if your landlord needs and has the correct licence.

If the tenancy started after 30 September 2015 and you’re issued with a Section 21 notice, your landlord must use form 6a or include all the same information on whatever document they use to give notice of eviction.

4. Illegal eviction is a criminal offence and may involve harassment

If your landlord tries to evict you without following the correct procedure — for example, by changing the locks or having you forcibly removed — they are committing a criminal offence. If they allow your house to fall into disrepair, visit you without warning, or make threats, this may amount to harassment. You can report harassment to the police or take legal action against your landlord to claim compensation.

5. You cannot be evicted because you asked for repairs — but it happens

Your landlord may try to evict you in retaliation for asking them to carry out repairs. This is illegal. However, some landlords find a way around this rule. If you need to ask for repairs, or you have been issued with a Section 21 notice after asking for repairs, it’s worth calling Burnley and Pendle Citizens Advice to discuss your rights and options.

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya from Pexels

6. Your local council may have a duty to help you find somewhere to live

If you’ve received an eviction notice and you will become homeless within 8 weeks, you are threatened with homelessness. Your local council has a duty to help you stay in your home or find somewhere else to live. You can contact your local council’s Housing Needs team for help but we would also like to hear from you. We can make sure you’re claiming all the benefits available to you, as well as helping with debts such as rent arrears.

7. You can get help with legal costs for housing problems

As long as your income and savings are below the thresholds, Legal Aid should be available to cover the costs of a solicitor who can help deal with a housing issue. For advice on how to get help through Legal Aid, call our advisers to discuss your options. If you’re income is too high to qualify for Legal Aid, you should check any home insurance policies you have taken out. They sometimes come with legal cover included, which can help with the costs of legal expenses for housing, employment and other personal issues.

How can we help?

For advice and support in dealing with a housing problem, call Burnley and Pendle Citizens Advice. We can:

· Check your eviction notice is valid

· Advise on what to do in the case of an illegal eviction

· Provide general housing advice to help you move forward

· Advise on what to do if you need your landlord to carry out repairs

For advice on dealing with your housing issue, call 0800 144 8848.

If you have rent or council tax arrears, call 01282 616 750 and choose option one to be put through to our local debt team.

Disclaimer: This information was correct at time of publishing on 18 May 2021 and is provided as a guide only. It is not a recommendation to take a specific action and we suggest you speak to an adviser if you have any doubt about how the law applies to you.

We are an independent charity providing free, impartial and confidential advice to people in Burnley and Pendle.