Unlawful eviction and harrassment
It is a criminal offence for a landlord to evict, or threaten to evict a tenant without a court order, and it is also a criminal offence for a landlord to harass a tenant.
If you’ve been evicted or threatened with eviction, call 01622 602440. If you’re being harassed call the Police on 101. You could also contact Citizens Advice Bureau to speak to a housing solicitor, or seek advice from Shelter.
There are certain actions that nearly always count as unlawful eviction. Your landlord will probably be committing an offence if they:
- Change the locks while you are out
- Threaten you if you do not leave
- Physically throw you out
- Stop you from getting into certain parts of your home
If you are unlawfully evicted, there may be evidence of a criminal offence and you can take your landlord to court.
Harassment can be something that disrupts your life at home or actions intended to make you leave. If your landlord, or anyone acting on their behalf, is harassing you, or anyone else in your home, you may be able to get help from us or take your landlord to court.
The fact your landlord owns your home does not give them the right to harass you. Harassment is a criminal offence.
Harassment can be:
- Disconnection of the electricity or gas
- Entering your home or room without permission
- Threats or violence of any kind
- Harassing you because of (for example) your gender, race or sexuality
- Opening your mail
- Taking your belongings
- Starting repair work and not finishing it
If you feel that you are being harassed then you should keep a record of incidents or a diary, which should include dates, times and events that have taken place. You can ask witnesses to write a short statement and take photographs if your landlord has caused damage. Contact the police on 101 or if you feel that you are in immediate danger then call 999.
Normally, for an eviction to be lawful, the landlord has to apply to the court for a possession order. This is where bailiffs make sure you have left.
If you live in the same property as your landlord they will not normally need a court order to evict you and they only need to give you reasonable notice to leave.