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Challenging an eviction notice

Challenging an eviction notice

SKU: 5.14
  • Advice

    If your landlord wants to evict you, they must follow a set process. You may be able to challenge the eviction if the notice is invalid, or you have been discriminated against by your landlord. This is mainly covered by the Equality Act 2010 (Part 4) and involves someone treating you differently because of your race, gender, religion, or disability. If you believe your landlord is discriminating against you, you should seek advice.


    You should seek legal advice if you wish to challenge your eviction. Contact our specialist advisors who will arrange expert legal assistance. You can challenge the eviction claim when you have received court papers and you must reply to the court within 14 days of receiving the papers.


    Your landlord can use a Section 8 notice if you have broken the terms of your tenancy. Or a Section 21 if they want you to vacate the property at the end of your fixed term tenancy or during a periodic tenancy (i.e., a tenancy with no fixed end date). Firstly, you need to check that your notice is correct and has not been wrongly addressed to you. General checks will include the correct name, address and other details.


    Next, you need to check if this notice is valid. The validity of your notice will also depend on the type of your tenancy. The most common types of tenancies which are covered in this note are the assured tenancy and assured shorthold tenancy. Please note that there are other types of tenancies.


    You check if the reason for your notice is valid. Some valid reasons include:

    • rent arrears;
    • damage to your landlord’s property;
    • causing a nuisance to your neighbours; or
    • the landlord wants to move back into the property.

    You may decide to leave the property by the date on your notice, or you may decide to stay and challenge the eviction. 

    Challenging an Eviction Notice

    You might be able to challenge your eviction if you have a good reason why you shouldn't leave your home. You may wish to speak to your landlord to come to a resolution e.g., allowing you to stay in your home if you show that you can remedy the problem.


    Discrimination occurs when you have been treated unfairly or differently because of a ‘protected characteristic’. These protected characteristics include:

    • Disability;
    • Rage;
    • Religion or belief;
    • Sex (Male/Female);
    • Sexual orientation;
    • Pregnancy and maternity; or
    • Gender Reassignment.


    The law also protects you from being treated unfairly because:

    • you challenged discrimination before (victimisation);
    • of someone else's protected characteristic e.g., your child/dependant; or
    • your landlord thinks you have a protected characteristic, but you don’t.


    If you don’t vacate the property, you'll get court papers when your landlord starts a possession claim. You may then challenge your landlord’s eviction claim when you get the court papers. You should reply to the court within 14 days of receiving the papers. If you fail to reply, you should still go to your court hearing. The court papers will include a completed copy of your landlord's claim (claim form), and a form for challenging your eviction (defence form). 


    You will need to fill out the defence form, stating why you are challenging the eviction in as much detail as possible. You must also give the reason(s) that you should be allowed to remain in your home. If you have an illness or disability, for example, and it would be difficult for you to move. Depending on the reason for eviction, the court may allow you to stay in your home or it may delay the date you need to leave. Send your defence to the court and your landlord within 14 days of receiving the papers. The address you should send it to will be shown on the papers you received. Remember to keep a copy for yourself.


    Explain your side of the story, and give the reasons for any problems that you have that have contributed to the situation. For example, you might have rent arrears because you lost your job or had trouble claiming benefits. Gather as much evidence as you can, such as doctor’s notes if you have been off work ill.


    You must send the defence form back to the court and your landlord within 14 days (the address will be on the form). If your landlord is granted a possession order, you'll usually have to pay any court costs within 14 days. You may request to pay the court costs over a longer time in smaller monthly payments. You might also have to pay your landlord's court costs. If your income is low or you receive benefits, you may qualify for legal aid.


    Preparing for the Eviction Hearing

    Your court papers will tell you when the possession hearing will take place, and where you should go for it. The court will decide if you need to leave your home. You should still attend even if you did not send a defence form. If you do not attend, the court might rely only on the evidence your landlord provides, which will reduce your chances of being allowed to stay in your home or delay your eviction. You should seek legal assistance when preparing for your court hearing. Contact one of our specialist advisors for legal advice.


    Legal Aid

    You might be able to get legal aid to help cover the costs of your court hearing and legal representation. Visit the Government website to check if you can get legal aid.

    If you are unable to get legal representation from a solicitor, you could get free legal advice on the day of the hearing from a duty solicitor, however, their attention will be with other clients and they will have no time to prepare your case.


    How we can help.

    Lestons can assist you in preparing a defence to try and prevent eviction and begin mediation between yourself and your landlord in the hope that we can avoid the eviction, if the matter ends up in court, then we would be delighted to represent you there. To gain our assistance you need to open a case, this is done by taking advantage of our free consultation service, activated by the link at the top of the page, should you wish to start a case the caseworker will send you the suitable payment link.


    Please note your caseworker can only give generic advice, their role is to prepare your details for handling by our legal team and to act as your point of contact.

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