We offer advice on illegal evictions for landlords and tenants. If you are a tenant, the threat of being removed from your home is a scary prospect, especially if there are threats of violence. If you are a landlord wanting to remove tenants whose behaviour you are unhappy with, it is essential that you follow correct procedures.
Common ways of illegally evicting tenants (that should be avoided) are:
Changing the locks so the tenants can’t get back in
Not giving the tenant the correct period of notice to vacate the property
Having tenants move out without a Court order
Harassing tenants to make them leave is another form of illegal eviction. Harassment does not have to take the form of violence or threats of violence – many types of non-abusive behaviour constitute harassment, including:
Withholding keys (if there are multiple tenants)
Anti-social behaviour (such as moving problematic tenants into a neighbouring flat)
Refusing to do necessary repairs
Once notice has been given and a court order for eviction has been issued, tenants cannot be physically evicted unless a bailiff does so with a valid warrant.
It is imperative that you use the correct procedures to remove tenants. The fact that you want them to leave and that you own the property are not enough, nor can you use discreet forms of harassment as listed above. Depending on the type of tenancy and grounds for removing tenants, you must use the correct type of notice under the Housing Act 1988 because harassment and illegal eviction are both criminal offences.
If you are a tenant, you do not have to vacate the property if the landlord tries to illegally evict you. You may choose to contact the police because illegal eviction is a criminal offence and sometimes violence accompanies illegal evictions. You can also contact the council because they also have powers to prosecute.
You can apply to the Court for an injunction that the landlord must let you back in to the property or stop harassing you. ‘Without notice’ injunctions can be granted in some circumstances, which are when the injunction is granted without input from the landlord.
You can also apply for compensation for damage to your belongings caused by the illegal eviction, for the eviction itself and for harassment.
For landlords, we can advise you on following the procedure for removing tenants and repossessing your property, to ensure you are not liable for a claim of illegal eviction. For tenants, we can advise on whether you have been illegally evicted and if an injunction and/or compensation should be pursued.
We understand the need to work quickly when dealing with these matters and carry out our work in a timely manner.
To talk to us about illegal evictions, please call our Bayswater office on freephone 0800 524 4709 to make an appointment or fill in our contact form.
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