Grounds for Possession for Council Tenants
If you are a tenant, whether your tenancy is permanent or temporary, your landlord must get a court order to evict you. If they try to force you to leave (e.g. through violence or cutting off your gas or electricity supplies) this could amount to Unlawful Eviction and you would be entitled to sue for compensation.
If you have a permanent tenancy (i.e. you are a Secure Tenant) then before going to court your landlord will need to send to you a written notice to say that they intend to go to court to get a Possession Order and why. This notice is called a "notice of intention to seek possession" and must be written in a certain way.
However, in some cases even if your landlord did not serve this notice the court might still allow them to obtain a possession order, if the court thinks it is fair for them to do so. You should be given proper notice before your landlord starts possession proceedings and your landlord must usually start proceedings within 12 months of the date the notice says court proceedings will be started.
Your landlord must have a reason for trying to get you out of the property. The law says that if you are a secure tenant there are certain reasons (grounds) which may entitle your landlord to get a possession order. If your landlord cannot show any of these grounds (see below) they will not be entitled to a possession order to evict you. If you have a temporary tenancy only or you are not a tenant at all then it is not necessary for any particular ground to be shown.
You have not paid the rent which is properly due from you and it is reasonable for the court to make a possession order. If you can show, for example, the rent arrears are due to late housing benefit payments which will be paid eventually, or the rent was wrongfully increased etc., then your landlord will probably not be entitled to a possession order. If by the time the case reaches court all the arrears have been paid by you then again your landlord will not get an order under this ground. Alternatively if your landlord can show you have not kept to part of your tenancy agreement then they will be entitled to an order if the court thinks it is reasonable for them to be allowed to evict you. Your landlord can also use this ground if they can show that you have broken one of the terms of your tenancy agreement which you are obliged to follow, (e.g. payment of water rates, avoiding anti-social behaviour etc).
If you or someone living with you has been causing nuisance or annoyance to any of your neighbours or anyone else visiting the area. However, your landlord has to show it is reasonable for the court to make a possession order. Also, your landlord can apply for possession if your behaviour is illegal, or amounts to an arrestable offence, or if you have used the property for "immoral or illegal purposes", such as drug dealing. Again this is subject to the reasonableness test. In addition, if you were living in the property with your partner and your partner left because of your violence or threats of violence and it is unlikely your partner will be coming back, your landlord may be able to obtain a possession order against you. However, they have to give written notice not only to you, but also to your partner before they can start court proceedings. The domestic violence ground cannot be used by same sex couples.
You or someone living with you has allowed the property to fall into a bad state of disrepair. If it is the fault of someone living with you and you have not taken steps to get them out of the property then your tenancy could be at risk. However, your landlord has to show it is reasonable for the court to make a possession order.
You or someone living with you have not taken care of furniture which your landlord provided for the property. Your landlord must show it is reasonable for an order to be made.
You or a joint tenant obtained your tenancy by giving false statements, deliberately or without caring if the statements were true. If your landlord can show they would not have otherwise given you the tenancy they may be able to get a possession order. However, your landlord must show it is reasonable for a possession order to be made.
You exchanged your property for another council tenant's property and money was paid, your landlord may get possession. Even if the exchange was made with a member of your family who was previously the tenant. However, your landlord must show it is reasonable to make a possession order.
Your property forms part of a building which is used mainly for other purposes other than housing and the property was let to you (or someone who held the tenancy before you) as part of their employment with one of the following:
a) A Local Authority
b) New Town Corporation
c) Urban Development Corporation
d) Development Board for rural Wales
e) Governors of an aided school
You or a person living with you have acted in a way which conflicts with the purpose for which the building is used and no longer makes it suitable for you to continue to live in the property. For example, if you were a school caretaker and you were provided with a property in the grounds of the school and you were found to have stolen from the school. Your landlord (who would also be your employer) could get a possession order under this ground. Your landlord must still show it is reasonable to evict you.
You moved into the property because works were being carried out on your previous property and you understood that you would have to return to that property when the works were finished. If you refuse to leave and return to your original property a possession order may be made against you. However, you can refuse to return if the works have not in fact been completed or you understood that you were being given the new property permanently. Your landlord must show it is reasonable to evict you.
If you are living in an overcrowded property which breaks the law, then your landlord may apply for a possession order. However, your landlord must offer you a suitable property elsewhere. You may be able to argue that your landlord should not get a possession order because they have not offered you another place to live or the place they have offered is not suitable.
Your landlord intends to demolish, reconstruct or carry out substantial work to the building or part of the building or land around the building in which you live and cannot do this while you are living there. If you agree to leave voluntarily then there is no reason for your landlord to get a possession order. You should be allowed to return to the property once the works are completed. Your landlord should offer you suitable accommodation elsewhere.
The property is in an area which has a redevelopment scheme and the property or part of it is affected by that scheme. Your landlord can get possession if he / she offers you suitable alternative accommodation.
Your landlord is a charity and if you carried on living in the property this would go against the principles or objects of the charity. However, your landlord must offer you suitable alternative accommodation.
Your property forms part of a building or is connected to a building which is used for other purposes and you are employed by your landlord and your property was let to you as part of your employment (e.g. school caretaker). Your landlord can get possession if your employment has come to an end and your landlord needs the property for some other person who will be employed. To take advantage of this ground your landlord must be either a Local Authority, New Town Corporation, Urban Development Corporation, Development Board for rural Wales or Governors of an aided school. Your landlord must satisfy the court that you will have other accommodation to go to and that it is reasonable to order possession.
Where your property is specially adapted for the disabled and there is no longer a disabled person living there and your landlord needs the property for a disabled person then your landlord may get a possession order. Your landlord must convince the court that there will be other suitable accommodation for you to go to and that it is reasonable for the court to make a possession order.
Where your property was let to you by a Housing Association or Housing Trust because you had special housing needs and you no longer have these needs or you have been offered permanent accommodation elsewhere and your landlord needs the property for someone else with special housing needs. Your landlord will need to show there is other suitable accommodation you could go to and that it is reasonable for the court to make a possession order.
If your property was let to you because you have special needs and there are special facilities based near the property to help you. Your landlord will only get possession if they show there is no longer anyone living in the property with special needs and the property is needed for someone else with special needs. Your landlord will need to show that other suitable accommodation is available to you and it would be reasonable for a court to make a possession order.
In some cases if you "succeed" to the tenancy on the death of the previous tenant your landlord may be able to get a possession order if the property is too big for just you. But the landlord must have served notice on you between the 6th and 12th month after the death of the previous tenant. Your landlord must still show there is other suitable accommodation for you to go to and that it would be reasonable for a court to make a possession order.
- Public Housing
- Homeless People
- Housing Benefit
- Housing Ombudsmen
- Introductory Tenancies
- Housing Injunctions
- Grounds for Possession - Council
- Assured Tenancies
- Grounds for Possession - Assured Tenancies
- Defending Possession Proceedings
- Eviction by Bailiffs
- Human Rights Act 1998
- Links & Addresses