Being evicted and nowhere to go

Eviction can be a daunting and stressful experience, especially when you have nowhere to go. In the UK, the housing crisis has exacerbated this issue, leaving many individuals and families facing homelessness. This comprehensive guide aims to provide detailed information and practical advice for those facing eviction with no immediate alternative accommodation. It covers the legal process, available support services, coping strategies, and long-term solutions.

Understanding Eviction in the UK

Legal Grounds for Eviction

In the UK, eviction can occur for several reasons, including:

  • Non-payment of rent: Tenants who fall behind on rent may face eviction if they do not make arrangements to catch up on arrears.
  • Violation of tenancy agreement: Breaching terms of the lease, such as causing damage to the property or engaging in illegal activities, can lead to eviction.
  • Landlord’s intention to sell or repurpose the property: Landlords may evict tenants if they plan to sell the property or use it for other purposes.
  • End of a fixed-term tenancy: Landlords can choose not to renew a lease once it expires.

The Eviction Process

The eviction process varies depending on the type of tenancy:

  • Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST): The most common type of tenancy in the UK. Landlords must follow a legal process, including serving a Section 21 (no-fault eviction) or Section 8 notice (grounds-based eviction).
  • Assured Tenancy: Offers more security than an AST. Landlords must have a valid reason and obtain a court order to evict.
  • Excluded Tenancy/Licence: Usually applies to lodgers. Eviction can be quicker and less formal.

Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

Tenants have certain rights and responsibilities during the eviction process:

  • Right to proper notice: Landlords must provide written notice, specifying the reasons and timeframe for eviction.
  • Right to challenge eviction: Tenants can challenge eviction in court if they believe it is unfair or unlawful.
  • Responsibility to pay rent: Tenants must continue to pay rent until the eviction process is complete.

Immediate Steps to Take When Facing Eviction

Seek Legal Advice

If you receive an eviction notice, seek legal advice immediately. Legal advisors can help you understand your rights, assess the validity of the eviction, and represent you in court if necessary. Organizations like Shelter, Citizens Advice, and local law centers offer free legal advice and support.

Contact Your Local Council

Local councils have a duty to help those at risk of homelessness. Contact your council’s housing department as soon as possible. They can provide advice, emergency accommodation, and support to prevent eviction. Councils can also offer Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) to help cover rent arrears.

Apply for Emergency Accommodation

If you have nowhere to go, apply for emergency accommodation through your local council. Councils must provide temporary housing to eligible individuals, including those with children, pregnant women, and vulnerable adults. Emergency accommodation can range from hostels to temporary flats.

Inform Your Landlord

Communicate with your landlord about your situation. They may be willing to negotiate a payment plan for arrears or extend your tenancy while you seek alternative accommodation. Open communication can sometimes prevent eviction or delay it, giving you more time to find a solution.

Support Services and Resources

Housing Charities and Organizations

Several charities and organizations offer support to those facing eviction:

  • Shelter: Provides advice, support, and legal assistance to people facing housing issues. Shelter’s helpline and online resources are invaluable for those facing eviction.
  • Crisis: Focuses on ending homelessness by providing education, employment, and housing support.
  • The Salvation Army: Offers emergency accommodation, support services, and advice to individuals and families in need.

Financial Assistance

If you are struggling financially, various forms of assistance are available:

  • Universal Credit/Housing Benefit: These benefits can help cover housing costs for eligible individuals and families. Apply through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
  • Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP): Offered by local councils to help cover shortfalls in rent or rent arrears.
  • Charitable Grants: Some charities provide financial assistance to help with rent, moving costs, and other expenses.

Food and Basic Necessities

Accessing food banks and other support services can help alleviate some immediate concerns:

  • Trussell Trust: Operates a network of food banks across the UK, providing emergency food parcels.
  • Local Community Centers: Many community centers offer free meals, clothing, and other essentials.

Mental Health Support

Facing eviction can take a toll on your mental health. Seek support from mental health services if needed:

  • Samaritans: Provides confidential emotional support 24/7.
  • Mind: Offers mental health support and resources.
  • Local NHS Services: Contact your GP for access to counseling and mental health services.

Long-Term Solutions

Securing Permanent Housing

Finding permanent housing is crucial to overcoming the crisis of eviction:

  • Private Renting: Look for affordable private rental properties. Consider using a letting agent or online platforms like Rightmove and Zoopla. You may need a guarantor or deposit, which some charities can help with.
  • Social Housing: Apply for social housing through your local council or housing associations. Social housing often has lower rents and more secure tenancies.
  • Shared Ownership: Consider shared ownership schemes, where you buy a share of a property and pay rent on the remaining share.

Employment and Income Support

Improving your financial stability can help secure housing and prevent future evictions:

  • Job Centers: Provide support with job searching, CV writing, and interview preparation.
  • Training and Education: Enroll in training programs to enhance your skills and employability.
  • Budgeting Advice: Seek advice on managing finances and reducing debt from organizations like StepChange and National Debtline.

Building a Support Network

A strong support network can provide emotional and practical assistance:

  • Family and Friends: Reach out to family and friends for support and temporary accommodation if possible.
  • Community Groups: Engage with local community groups and support networks for advice and assistance.
  • Online Forums: Participate in online forums and support groups for people facing similar challenges.

Legal Protections and Advocacy

Understanding Your Legal Rights

Educate yourself about your legal rights to prevent unfair eviction:

  • Tenancy Agreements: Know the terms of your tenancy agreement and your rights as a tenant.
  • Protection from Eviction Act 1977: This law protects tenants from illegal eviction and harassment.
  • Legal Aid: If eligible, apply for legal aid to cover the costs of legal representation.

Advocacy and Policy Change

Advocate for policy changes to address housing issues:

  • Join Advocacy Groups: Participate in groups advocating for housing rights and policy changes.
  • Engage with Local Politicians: Contact your local MP to raise awareness about housing issues and support policy changes.
  • Public Campaigns: Support or organize public campaigns to raise awareness and promote change.

Personal Stories and Case Studies

Case Study 1: Sarah’s Journey

Sarah, a single mother of two, faced eviction due to rent arrears after losing her job. With nowhere to go, she sought help from Shelter and her local council. They provided emergency accommodation and helped her apply for Universal Credit. Sarah also received budgeting advice and found a part-time job. Eventually, she secured a social housing flat, providing stability for her family.

Case Study 2: John’s Struggle

John, a disabled veteran, was evicted after his landlord decided to sell the property. Unable to find affordable housing, John contacted Crisis for support. They helped him find temporary accommodation and provided training to enhance his employability. With their assistance, John secured a permanent flat through a housing association and received ongoing support to maintain his tenancy.

Case Study 3: The Wilson Family

The Wilson family faced eviction when their landlord increased the rent beyond their means. With three young children, they were at risk of homelessness. The Salvation Army provided emergency accommodation and financial assistance to cover the rent arrears. They also helped the family apply for social housing. After several months, the Wilsons moved into a council house, ensuring a secure future for their children.


Facing eviction with nowhere to go is a challenging and stressful experience, but there are numerous resources and strategies available to help navigate this difficult situation. Understanding the eviction process, seeking legal advice, and accessing support services are crucial steps. Long-term solutions, such as securing permanent housing and improving financial stability, can provide lasting stability and prevent future crises.

By leveraging the support of housing charities, local councils, and community networks, individuals and families can find the assistance they need to overcome eviction and build a more secure future. Advocacy and policy changes are also essential to address the root causes of housing issues and ensure that everyone has access to safe, affordable housing.

If you or someone you know is facing eviction, remember that help is available. Reach out to support organizations, seek legal advice, and take proactive steps to secure housing and support. Together, we can work towards a society where everyone has a place to call home.

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