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England

How to deal with illegal eviction

It’s an illegal eviction if your private landlord or anyone acting for them:

  • changes the locks while you're out

  • makes you leave with threats or harassment

  • kicks you out or uses force to make you leave

  • stops you from getting into parts of your home

Landlords and letting agents must follow the right process to evict tenants.

Lodgers or subtenants who live with a resident landlord have less rights.

Illegal eviction is a criminal offence

The police or others may say illegal eviction is a civil matter.

But it's a criminal offence for a landlord to evict you without taking the right legal steps.

It could also be a criminal offence if your landlord keeps disturbing you in your home.

Find out how to deal with harassment from landlords or agents.

Only court bailiffs can evict you

First, your landlord must:

  • give you a legal notice

  • apply for a court order

If anyone other than a court bailiff makes you leave, it’s an illegal eviction.

This applies to private tenants, property guardians and students in halls of residence. It does not apply if you're a lodger or share living space with your landlord.

If your landlord's notice is wrong

Your landlord has to give you a correct notice. If they make a mistake on the notice, they will have to send a new one.

Bad landlords might give a notice that they know is too short in the hope that you will leave. For example, they might say you have 1 week to leave. This is not a legal notice.

Find out about the legal eviction process and your tenancy rights.

Use our letter templates if you are pressured to leave.

Use our notice periods checker to find out how much notice your landlord has to give you.

You do not have to leave by the date on the landlord's notice. Your landlord has to ask the court to end your tenancy if you stay.

Last updated: 11 June 2024

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