Step 1: take action when you get an eviction notice
The first official step your landlord will take is to send you a notice asking you to leave your home - this is called a ‘notice seeking possession’. If you haven't already you should check they have followed the right rules to evict you.
The rules are different depending on the notice:
- check your eviction notice from a social landlord
- check your section 21 notice from a private landlord
- check your section 8 notice from a private landlord
If you have a different type of eviction notice you might still be able to use discrimination law to try to defend it, but you should get help from an adviser.
You might be able to use other housing laws to challenge your eviction - these could be things not related to the discrimination. For example, your eviction notice might not be written correctly.
If there’s more than one reason to challenge your eviction you should raise it at the same time as the argument about discrimination.
Get help from your nearest Citizens Advice if you’ve had a letter saying ‘notice of eviction’ which says when bailiffs will come to your home. If your landlord has already got a court order to evict you, the way you might be able to use discrimination law to challenge the eviction is different and more limited.
Ask your landlord to stop the eviction
Your landlord doesn’t have to evict you even if they’ve sent you a notice so it’s a good idea to contact them. Write a letter asking them to stop the eviction process. Say you’re willing to challenge the eviction in court if they continue with it.
Your letter should also include:
your name and address
a summary of what happened - explain it's discrimination under the Equality Act 2010
the type of discrimination, for example direct or indirect
what you want, for example to stay in your home - if you’re asking for money, say how much and how you worked out that amount
other reasons that you’re challenging the eviction, for example if the notice asking you to leave is incorrect
that you want a reply within 14 days - if the notice will expire before then, ask your landlord to delay the eviction process until you’ve had chance to consider their reply
You should always say what you’re suggesting is “without prejudice save as to costs”. This usually means the court can’t see these discussions when deciding the outcome of your case.
They would still be able to see them later on to decide who pays the legal costs.
Keep a copy of the letter and ask the Post Office for free proof of postage - you might need to prove when you sent your letter.
It’s always best to pay off rent arrears you owe to give the best chance of keeping your home, even if you think you have a claim for compensation against your landlord.
If your landlord agrees not to go to court
They could try to evict you again if problems keep happening - for example if you continue to break the terms of your tenancy. Most notices are valid for 12 months, so you could be evicted with almost no warning.
Try to reach an agreement out of court
It’s a good idea to keep speaking to your landlord even if they want to go to court to evict you. You might still be able to reach an agreement with them. For example you could agree to pay rent arrears you owe if your landlord gives you some compensation.
Make sure you’ll be able to keep to your side of the agreement. If you don’t do what you’ve agreed your landlord could start the eviction process again.
If you make an agreement, you can stop the legal process - this is called settling. The court might encourage you to try to settle.
You can negotiate even if you’ve tried to reach an agreement before your landlord started the eviction process.
You should always say what you’re suggesting is ‘without prejudice save as to costs’. This usually means the court can’t see these discussions when deciding the outcome of your case. They would still be able to see them later on to decide who pays the legal costs.
The court also has a formal process you can follow to try to get a settlement. This called a ‘Part 36’ settlement.
To get a Part 36 settlement you need to write to your landlord giving your settlement offer and a time limit for them to accept or refuse it. You’d explain if it relates to the whole of the eviction claim or part of it and whether you’re making a counterclaim. You’d also explain the costs and what would happen if they accept or refuse.
There are more rules you need to follow if you’re making a Part 36 offer - find out more about part 36 settlements on GOV.UK.
You don’t have to use the Part 36 process - you can make an offer to settle your case in whichever way you choose.
If you agree a settlement, get it in writing - you’ll then have a record in case they change their minds.
Getting a settlement approved by the court
You should ask the court to approve the agreement you’ve reached. This means the court will make an order on the terms that you have agreed and both sides need to stick to it. If one side doesn’t keep to the order, the other side can take action to enforce it.
You’ll need to:
use form N244 to ask the court for a ‘consent order’
agree with the other side what the order should say and send a draft to the court with your application
pay a fee to the court - this is usually £100
decide which party is going to make the application and pay the fee
You can ask the court to deal with your application without a hearing to save time and costs. If the court can’t deal with your application without a hearing you might be asked to go to court.
You should get help from an adviser if you’re thinking about agreeing to a possession order.
If you still can’t sort out your problem, you could ask a mediator to help. This is a person who doesn’t know either side and who’s trained to help people resolve disagreements. They’ll make a fair decision based on the facts and what each side wants. They might talk to you together or separately.
Mediation isn’t compulsory, so the other side might refuse. If the other side suggests mediation and you refuse it could be used against you later if you go to court. You might have to pay extra costs
Going to mediation will help you show that you tried to resolve your case before you went to court. You should keep copies of any letters or notes of conversations where you have suggested settling the case or going to mediation so that you can use these as evidence.
Even if your landlord has already applied to court it could be paused (the legal term for this is ‘stayed’) whilst you try to resolve the dispute by mediation.
Make sure you understand whether the mediation will be ‘binding’. This means you’d have to agree that the mediator’s decision is final and you wouldn’t, for example, be able to take legal action to try to get a different decision.
You might have to pay for a mediator or share the costs with your landlord. You should check this before you agree to mediation.
If you’re not sure whether to see a mediator you can get help.
Find a mediator
Check your local council’s website - they might help even if you’re not a council tenant. You can find your local council on GOV.UK
You can also look for a mediator on GOV.UK.