Landlords must follow the correct procedures to evict tenants
Actions that count as illegal eviction
It's usually illegal eviction if your landlord:
- forces you to leave by threatening or harassing you
- physically throws you out
- stops you from getting into parts of your home
- changes the locks while you're out
Illegal eviction is a criminal offence
It's a criminal offence for a landlord to evict you without following the correct legal steps.Landlords usually need to get a court order and ask bailiffs to evict you if you are a tenant.
When landlords can evict you themselves
Your landlord can evict you themselves and don't need to get a court order if you are:
- a lodger
- in a council or housing association hostel
- in emergency accommodation that the council provided while assessing your homeless application
Your landlord must give you reasonable notice to leave.
Your contract or agreement may say how long this should be. They can change the locks while you are out.
It is a criminal offence for your landlord to use threats or violence to evict you
When only bailiffs can evict you
Most tenants can only be evicted by bailiffs after the landlord has got a court order.
This includes if you are:
- a private tenant
- a student living in halls
- living in the same building as your landlord but you don't share living accommodation
- a council or housing association tenant
What you can do about illegal eviction
You can take these steps when you are evicted illegally:
- contact the police
- contact your council for advice and support
- apply for an illegal eviction injunction
- make sure you get your belongings back
- take action to get your deposit back
- apply for compensation
Get free legal advice
Get advice from a Shelter adviser immediately if you're facing eviction.
Last updated 18 Mar 2019 | © Shelter
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