What to do and where to get help if you are facing eviction in Cornwall

Date: 26th September

Categories:

AdviceCost of Living

Times are tough at the moment, everywhere, but not least in Cornwall.

Alongside the cost-of-living crisis, which is featured so prominently in the news and political discussion, there’s also a housing crisis. The demand for properties is vastly greater than the supply, leading to reduced availability and higher rents being demanded for those properties available.

This is something that has been particularly exacerbated in Cornwall, with property search sites such as Zoopla and Rightmove often reporting single-digit availability for property in Cornish towns and villages, sometimes not at all.

Before we begin, you might wish to check out what to do if you’re facing homelessness, which is a guide on what to do if you’ve been served with an eviction notice and are struggling.

When You Can Be Evicted

To evict you from a property, your landlord must follow the correct procedure – failure to do so would render the eviction notice void if challenged.

In order to evict you, your landlord must do one or more of the following:

  • Give you a valid Section 21 or Section 8 notice.
  • Get a possession order from the court if you have not left by the date on the section 21 or section 8 notice issued to you.
  • Ask the court for a warrant of possession if you haven’t left on the possession order.
  • Get an eviction warrant from the court – which would mean that bailiffs would be asked to enforce the warrant and evict you from your home.

 

What to do if you’re served with an eviction notice

Is your eviction valid?

If you are served with an eviction notice, firstly, make sure you check that the landlord has followed the correct steps in issuing the eviction notice. If you aren’t sure, it’s worth contacting an organisation which can help provide support and guidance, such as Citizens Advice Bureau.

If the landlord hasn’t followed the correct steps, you might be able to challenge the eviction. In addition, if you believe your landlord has discriminated against you in their eviction, this is also grounds for challenge.

Examples of where a landlord might have discriminated against you in issuing an eviction includes:

  • Because of who you are (for example, if they later discovered you had a criminal record, are LGBTQ+, evicted because of ethnicity etc)
  • In a way that is more difficult for you than other people
  • For a reason that is connected to your disability
  • Because you had previously complained about discrimination

Section 21 and Section 8 eviction notices are different. If your landlord uses a Section 21 eviction order to remove you from your home, they are not required to give a specific reason for doing so. Challenging a section 21 eviction order is usually based on procedure – such as if your landlord isn’t valid (eg you are not on an assured shorthold tenancy) or has made a mistake with the procedure.

A section 8 eviction order requires the landlord to state one or more reasons why, such as rent arrears, have damaged your landlord’s property or caused a nuisance to neighbours, among other reasons.

Talk to your local council

Your local council has a duty to help you keep your home or find a new one if you qualify for homeless help. You can apply to the council for this if you’re homeless or will become homeless within the next eight weeks.

Usually, the help will last eight weeks – although exceptions apply. These include if you’re given a valid section 21 notice or if your situation changes and you become legally homeless, you’ll receive another eight weeks’ help. This includes help to find a new home.

They will also work with you to compile a housing plan in writing, explaining exactly how they help you stay in your current home or find a new one. This could include negotiating with your landlord so you can stay in your home or if you are already homeless, they may be able to give you a deposit to access private rented housing. If they are unable to do this they will check if they can give you any other help – such as emergency housing or longer-term housing.

Check if you can get extra money

You might be able to get extra money if you need help finding somewhere to live – you might be eligible for:

  • Universal Credit
  • A loan to help you pay for a deposit or help form a local welfare scheme – more information can be obtained from your local council
  • A discretionary housing payment

Find out more details on the Citizens Advice website here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/renting-privately/ending-your-tenancy/get-help-if-youre-being-evicted-england/