Evicting secure Housing Executive tenants
The Housing Executive will usually only start eviction proceedings as a last resort. If you're an introductory tenant the Housing Executive can use a simpler process to evict you but must still be able to show that evicting you is a reasonable action.
Contact a local advice agency if you are facing eviction. An adviser may be able to help you stop the eviction.
What will the Housing Executive do?
The Housing Executive should use eviction proceedings as a last resort. Before starting legal action, the Housing Executive must investigate your situation thoroughly, especially if you have rent arrears or are being accused of antisocial behaviour.
If you have children the Housing Executive should ask for a social services report before starting eviction proceedings.
Can the Housing Executive always start eviction proceedings?
The Housing Executive can't start eviction proceedings if:
- you're being evicted for rent arrears but your only income comes from social security benefits
- you have already left the accommodation
- you only owe rent because of housing benefit overpayments
Get advice if the Housing Executive is starting eviction proceedings but you fall into one of the categories outlined above.
Can the Housing Executive evict me immediately?
The Housing Executive can't evict you immediately. The Housing Executive must get a court order before evicting you.
The eviction procedure starts when the Housing Executive issues you with a Notice Seeking Possession. For this notice to be correct it has to give you at least 28 days' notice of the date they expect you to leave the property. If you don't voluntarily go by this date the Housing Executive will start to take action through the court. Don't panic if you receive a Notice Seeking Possession but get advice as soon as possible. You may be able to stop the eviction with the help of an advice agency.
After your notice has expired the Housing Executive can ask for a Decree for Possession in the County Court. The Housing Executive will start a separate case in the magistrate's court if you owe rent. The Housing Executive must ask for a Decree for Possession within 12 months of issuing a Notice Seeking Possession.
If you are being evicted for antisocial behaviour the Housing Executive may not have to give you 28 days' notice before going to court. The Housing Executive must get a court order before evicting you for antisocial behaviour.
What happens at court?
The court doesn't have to automatically give the Housing Executive possession. It must be reasonable for the judge to give the Housing Executive possession. The judge will look at your personal circumstance before deciding what to do. The court procedure can be complicated.
If you are in rent arrears you might be able to get the court hearing stopped if you can pay off the arrears or agree on a repayment plan. Free money and debt advice is available through Debt Action NI.
What happens after court?
Eviction doesn't happen immediately even if the court has given the Housing Executive a possession order. If you stay on after you have been told to leave the Housing Executive must follow special procedures before you have to leave.
If you are evicted you may not be allowed to apply for Housing Executive or housing association accommodation for another two years.
The Housing Executive may allow you to stay on in the accommodation but you will not be regarded as a Housing Executive "tenant". You will be given a use and occupation book. You won't have as many rights as a Housing Executive tenant.
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