How to deal with illegal eviction

Help after an illegal eviction

You need to act quickly if you want to get back into your home.

You won’t be able to get back in if new tenants have already moved in.

You can use reasonable force to get back into your home, such as changing the locks or breaking a window to gain entry.

Make sure you repair any damage done when re-entering your home.

Ask your council for help

Your council should have a tenancy relations officer or a housing team who can help.

The council must try to stop an illegal eviction if it would leave you homeless.

They can also help:

  • negotiate with and explain the law to your landlord

  • find you somewhere else to live

The council may prosecute your landlord if they continue to break the law.

If you have nowhere to stay

Contact your council's homelessness department if you're illegally evicted and need emergency accommodation.

Get your belongings back

Your landlord must return your belongings or allow you to collect them.

Your landlord cannot:

  • sell or destroy your belongings

  • keep your belongings because they say you owe rent

  • leave your belongings on the doorstep for you to collect

Try speaking to your landlord to arrange the return or collection.

You can claim compensation through the court if your belongings are lost or damaged.

Get your tenancy deposit back

Your tenancy deposit should be protected with an authorised scheme if you're an assured shorthold tenant.

You can use the scheme's dispute resolution service to get your tenancy deposit back.

The service can also help if you disagree with the amount the landlord has kept.

You can take your landlord to court for the return of your deposit if:

  • your deposit wasn't protected with a scheme

  • your landlord refuses to use the dispute resolution service

Legal action against your landlord

The council can prosecute your landlord in serious cases of illegal eviction.

It doesn't cost you anything. You'll probably have to go to the court hearing.

Your landlord has to pay a fine or could be sent to prison if found guilty.

Sometimes the threat of prosecution can be enough to persuade your landlord to let you back into your home.

You can also take your landlord to court to claim compensation for an illegal eviction.

Apply for an injunction

You can apply to the court for an injunction to:

  • get back into your home

  • stop your landlord harassing you

You can also apply to the court for compensation and damages.

If you need legal help, you may qualify for legal aid if you're on a low income.

If you can't get legal aid, you might be able to find a solicitor to help under a no win no fee agreement.

Looking for a new home

Contact your council's homelessness department for help if you have nowhere to live because of illegal eviction.

Looking for a new private rented home.

Last updated: 30 March 2021

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