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Outside the private rented sector

This content applies to England

Illegal eviction and harassment outside the private rented sector.

Illegal eviction and harassment are most common in the private rented sector, but other occupiers (such as local authority or housing association tenants, mortgagors or park home residents) can also be subjected to illegal eviction and/or harassment.

It is unlikely that harassment by a public sector landlord or mortgage provider would occur, but advisers may come across an illegal eviction. This may take place if, for instance, a local authority or mortgage provider fails to follow the correct legal procedure before taking possession of a property (such as boarding up a property that appears to have been abandoned prior to the right to occupy being properly ended by a court order).

In one case, a local authority was successfully prosecuted by one joint tenant who contended that by accepting less than the minimum notice from the other joint tenant, the tenancy had not been ended properly and the eviction was therefore illegal.[1]

In another case, a local authority landlord was found liable for illegal eviction and abuse of process against a secure tenant on the grounds that:[2]

  • the authority did not apply for permission to apply for a warrant for possession when the original possession order had been made more than six years previously[3]
  • various officers of the authority were found to have conspired to evict the tenant and seize and destroy his possessions and then to have tried to covered up their actions
  • the authority had breached the tenant's right to quiet enjoyment of his tenancy and his right to respect for his private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In another case, the secure tenant of a local authority was awarded substantial damages for various statutory torts and for the loss of his possessions after the authority, thinking the tenant had abandoned the property, forced entry, removed and destroyed his possessions, and re-let it to another tenant without following eviction procedures.[4]

[1] Wandsworth LBC v Osei-Bonsu (1999) 31 HLR 515, CA.

[2] AA v Southwark LBC [2014] EWHC 500 (QB).

[3] Hackney LBC v White (1996) 28 HLR 219; Patel v Singh [2002] EWCA Civ 1938.

[4] Loveridge v Lambeth LBC [2014] UKSC 65.

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