Notice from the council

As a secure tenant you can only be evicted in certain circumstances, such as breaking one of the terms of your tenancy agreement. If this happens, the council has to give you notice. The amount of notice you get will depend on the reasons for your eviction.

Click on Advice near you to find an adviser in your area.
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Am I a secure tenant?

Most council tenants have secure tenancies. The only exceptions to this are:

bullet  if you are in temporary accommodation that the council has provided for you as a homeless person
bullet  if the council has given you an introductory or demoted tenancy
bullet  if you are resident in a hostel provided by the council
bullet  if you are no longer living in the property and don’t intend to return to it
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Does the council have to give me notice?

If you are a secure tenant, your council wants you to leave and you’re not sure of your rights, get advice.

Before the council can apply to court to evict a secure tenant, it has to give a warning notice. This is called a notice seeking possession. The council normally has to give you at least four weeks’ notice before it can apply to the court for a possession hearing. The only exception would be if the council wants to evict you because it says you have been involved in serious nuisance, anti-social behaviour or domestic violence. In these cases there is no minimum period before possession action can commence. The council can serve a notice and apply to the court immediately. 

The notice must explain what the reasons (also known as grounds) for the eviction are. In most cases the notice will be valid for 12 months. If the council hasn’t started its court action before the end of this time, it will have to serve you with a new notice.
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What happens next?

As soon as you receive the notice from the council, you should speak to an adviser. You can find one by contacting Shelter Cymru, a Citizens Advice bureau, a law centre, or a solicitor. The faster you respond to the notice, the more likely you are to keep your home.

If you don’t respond to the notice or the council isn’t happy with your response, the next step it will take is to apply to court. You will know if the council has done this because the court will send you a letter and papers. This will tell you:

bullet  what the council is applying for ‘possession’ of your home (ie to evict you)
bullet  what grounds (if these are needed) the council is using for the eviction – the grounds will depend on the type of tenancy you have
bullet  when the court date is
bullet   you can make arrangements for your defense (and will include a defense form, which should normally be returned to the court within 14 days).

If you haven’t consulted an adviser by this stage, make sure you contact one immediately; it might not be too late to prevent the eviction.
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What if I have an introductory or demoted tenancy?

If you have an introductory or demoted council tenancy you can be evicted much more easily than secure council tenants. The council doesn’t have to prove a legal reason (known as a ground) in court – if it has followed the correct procedure, the judge will have no choice but to evict you.

The council must give you at least four weeks’ notice that it intends to go to court to evict you and explain its reasons why. The notice must also inform you that you have the right to request a review of the council’s decision – this is an internal appeal to the council where it considers your circumstances. But there is a time limit. You must submit a request to review the council’s decision within 14 days.

Contact an adviser as soon as you receive the notice from the council. Do not wait. An adviser may be able to:

bullet  talk to the council on your behalf
bullet  sort out any problems with your Housing Benefit claim
bullet  arrange help for any personal problems you might have
bullet  help you settle a dispute with a neighbour
bullet  help you to request a review of the council’s decision to evict you.

A specialist adviser may also be able to help you with your arguments against the eviction and put a legal case together. If you miss the 14-day deadline to request a review, you are in serious danger of losing your home. But it may not be too late – consult an adviser straight away.
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What if I live in temporary accommodation, supported housing, or a hostel?

If you live in temporary accommodation, supported housing, or a hostel and are threatened with eviction, get in touch with Shelter Cymru immediately. An adviser can check what type of licence or tenancy you have and explain what your rights are.

You may not be entitled to a court order, or even a written notice. It’s very important to speak to an adviser as soon as you can. If you are evicted from temporary accommodation you will find yourself in a very difficult situation, because it is very unlikely that the council will provide you with any further assistance and you may find it difficult to find alternative housing.

Don’t assume the council has to rehouse you; depending on the reasons for eviction, the council may decide that you have made yourself ‘intentionally homeless’.

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Page last updated: April 4, 2013