Can Secured Tenants Be Evicted from Council Properties?

A secured tenancy gives you the right to live in your home for the rest of your life, but this doesn’t mean you can’t be evicted. If you breach the terms of your tenancy agreement, the council may apply to the court to repossess the property and evict you from your home. 

However, there are specific procedures that a council or housing association must follow before attempting to repossess a property, such as:

  • Implementing a pre-action protocol (if the tenant has rent arrears)
  • Providing legal notice to the tenant
  • Applying to the court for a possession order

Following this, the landlord (the council) may also apply for a warrant that permits bailiffs to enter the property and remove the tenant. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to stop a repossession before it ever gets to this stage. 

Read more: Can the Bank Repossess My Home?

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What is a Pre-Action Protocol?

These are steps that the council must take before they apply to the court for a possession order, if the tenant hasn’t been paying the rent on time or in full, such as:

  1. Try to agree on a repayment plan with the tenant, taking their income and expenditure into account.
  2. Issue a rent statement at least every four months.
  3. Take reasonable steps to make sure the tenant understands the information that is issued.
  4. Offer assistance with a housing benefit claim. 
  5. Advise the tenant to seek independent assistance, such as help from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

The council must follow the correct procedures before they start court action and failing to do so can mean that subsequent attempts to repossess the property will fail. Furthermore, a local council can’t begin possession proceedings if:

  • The tenant proves they have applied for housing benefits.
  • The tenant is likely to receive housing benefits.
  • The tenant has paid other sums, which would not typically be covered by housing benefits.

Can the Council Repossess My Home for Other Reasons?

Yes. Even secured tenants can have their property repossessed if they breach the terms of their tenancy agreement. While rent arrears are a common reason for evictions, other breaches can include:

  1. Anti-social behaviour.
  2. Domestic violence.
  3. Neglect or damage to the property.
  4. Mistreatment of furniture within the property.
  5. Making false statements to obtain the tenancy.

Additionally, councils can rely on the following reasons to evict a tenant, but they must offer suitable alternative accommodation before doing so:

  1. Overcrowding.
  2. The property is being demolished or redeveloped.
  3. Tenancy is linked to employment and is required for a new employee.
  4. The property is intended for a tenant with special needs and the current tenant does not meet the criteria.
  5. The property has been modified for a tenant with disabilities and the current tenant does not require these modifications.

What Type of Tenancy Do I Have?

There are different types of tenancies available from social housing organisations, such as local councils, and the type of tenancy you have will determine what rights the landlord or owner has to repossess the property. 

While most tenants have a secured tenancy, it is worth checking exactly what type of tenancy you have so that you can ensure the correct procedures are followed, if an attempt to repossess the property is made. 

Staying in Your Home

Threats of eviction can be upsetting and stressful, particularly if you believe you have been a good tenant. Fortunately, help is available and there are ways to stop repossessions. 

When the council asks the court to issue an outright possession notice, for example, you can request that the court issues a suspended possession order instead. This will enable you to remain in your home, providing you meet the requirements set out by the court. 

To learn more or to stop repossessions or eviction today, contact our expert team 24/7 on 0800 298 0571.