You can ask a court for an injunction, compensation or both if a landlord has illegally evicted you.
Ask the court for an illegal eviction injunction
A court injunction is an order by a judge that tells someone to either do something or stop doing something.
An injunction can order your landlord to let you back into your home or to stop harassing you. Your landlord could be fined or sent to prison for not obeying an injunction.
Apply for an injunction at your local county court. Use Form N16A to ask the court to make an injunction against your landlord to let you back into your home or to stop harassing you.
You probably have to wait three or days or longer before you can attend a court hearing.
You cannot get an injunction to get back into your home if it has already been rented to other tenants.
Ask the court for an injunction in an emergency
You can ask the court to act quickly if you've been illegally evicted and you're homeless or at risk of violence.
You can apply to the court for a 'without notice' injunction. The court can make this type of injunction without hearing from your landlord first. It can sometimes do this on the same day you apply.
Use Form N16A to make an emergency application for an injunction.
There will be a further court hearing at a later date for both you and your landlord to attend.
Legal aid for court action
You might be able to get free or low cost legal help to take your landlord to court.
Call the Civil Legal Advice helpline on 0345 345 4 345. You may be eligible for legal aid to ask a court for an injunction or compensation or both, if you are claim certain benefits or have a low income.
Anyone can call Shelter's free national helpline on 0808 800 4444 .
For face to face help, use Shelter's directory to find a housing adviser at a Shelter advice service, Citizen's Advice or law centre.
Taking court action without legal aid
You may have to pay for court action yourself if you don't qualify for legal aid.
For free housing advice, contact a Shelter advice centre, Citizen's Advice or a law centre.
Use Shelter's directory to find an advice centre in your local area.
Your local council may be able to help you with applying for an injunction. Find out how your local council could help.
You may be able to get free or low-cost legal help through a conditional fee arrangement. If you are taking your landlord to court to claim compensation and you win your case, the costs of hiring the solicitor are paid by your landlord. If you don't win, any costs will be what you agree with the solicitor at the start.
Other sources of legal help could include:
- a workplace scheme or trade union offering legal advice
- legal insurance – check if your household contents insurance or other insurance covers legal disputes
Court fees for illegal eviction court action
You usually have to pay a fee when you apply to a court for an injunction or compensation.
You might not have to pay a fee if you are claim certain benefits or have a low income. See court leaflet Form EX160A for more information.
Find out more from Gov.uk about court fees.
If the court makes an injunction or awards you compensation, you can ask the court to order your landlord to pay you any money you have spent on court fees.
Court action for compensation for illegal eviction
You can take your landlord to court to claim compensation for illegal eviction or because of harassment. A claim for compensation is also called a claim for damages.
Use Form N1 to apply to the court to order your landlord to pay you compensation. You can include an application for a final injunction with this, for example ordering your landlord to stop harassing you in the future.
The amount of compensation the court decides to award you depends on the type of tenancy you have and how your landlord behaved. For example, the court could order your landlord to pay you a large amount of compensation if your landlord was violent.
If your landlord reasonably believed that you had left the property, your landlord may have a defence against your claim for compensation. The court decides who is right.
You may get legal aid to take your landlord to court for compensation for illegal eviction if you claim certain benefits or have a low income.
A housing solicitor in your local area may be able to help you for free or for a reduced fee. You may be asked to agree to pay the solicitor's fee from any compensation you are awarded.
Use the Gov.uk Legal Adviser Finder to find a solicitor or legal adviser in your area.