If you are a residential tenant, it is a criminal offence for your landlord to evict you without a court order.
If your landlord evicts you, or tries or threatens to evict you without taking you to court first, you should go and see the tenancy relations officer at your local authority, who will if appropriate, consider bringing a prosecution against your landlord.
You can also seek advice from a solicitor, who can help you bring a claim for compensation, and an injunction allowing you back into the property (if you wish this).
Before issuing proceedings for possession a landlord must serve the appropriate form of notice on the tenant. However there are several different forms of notice and the landlord has to use the correct one and give all the necessary information, otherwise it will be invalid.
If a notice is served on you, seek legal advice.
If you receive a summons for possession, do not ignore it. Take advice. You may have a defence to the proceedings if:
- the proper form of notice has not been served on you, and/or
For claims based on rent arrears, if:
- the property is in poor state of repair
- your landlord did not follow the proper procedure when increasing your rent
- the rent arrears are less than stated
- your rent arrears are less than two months/eight weeks, and/or
- you first moved into the property before 15th January 1989
You have a good chance of being able to stay in the property if you can show the Judge that you can pay off the rent arrears.
If your rent arrears are solely because of delays in payment of Housing Benefit, seek legal advice immediately. However, non-payment of benefit to you is not in itself a defence. It is most important therefore that you attend the hearing and try to obtain legal advice and representation.
Consider also contacting your local Councillor or MP to see if they can help speed up the payment of benefit to you.
For claims based on other grounds (ie not rent arrears), you may have a defence, particularly if the statements made in the papers are untrue.
In all cases you should seek professional legal advice.
If you want to be re-housed by the local authority
- Do not move out of the property
- Take the summons to the Homelessness Officer at your Local Authority
- Follow any advice that they give you
If you are
- Have dependent children who are living with you, or
- Are vulnerable because of age, mental illness, disability or some other reason
If you are unable to afford solicitors, you will find a list of places where you can get advice and help >> here.