Advice for tenants
There are certain actions that nearly always count as illegal eviction. Your landlord may be committing an offence if:
- Locks are changed while you are out, threatens you or forces you to leave, physically throws you out or stops you from getting into certain parts of your home
If your landlord is violent towards you or anyone in your household, this is a criminal offence and you should contact the police. The proper procedure for eviction depends on the type of agreement you have with your landlord. In most cases this would involve giving you notice and getting a court order. However if you live with your landlord or a member of your landlord's family, the rules may be different. The only person who is legally allowed to physically remove you from your home is a court bailiff.
If you are evicted illegally, you may be able to: Get help from the council - we may be able to help you negotiate with your landlord or take enforcement action or force your way back into the property (as long as it's safe and legal to do so)
Many illegal evictions take place after office hours meaning it can be difficult to get help. Call the police and the person at the council who deals with harassment and illegal eviction. Our emergency out of hours telephone number is: 01827 709709
Harassment and illegal eviction are criminal offences and there can often be confusion about the law, and what responsibilities the police have. You need to show the police your tenancy agreement and point out the landlord is committing an offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. The police will usually agree to come to the property to prevent a breach of the peace from taking place. This could be helpful if you need to get back into the property, or reclaim your belongings.
If you have difficulty getting the police to help you, or if they come to your home and mistakenly help your landlord to evict you illegally, tell them that you will inform to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which will investigate your complaint.