How to deal with illegal eviction

How to prevent an illegal eviction

Get support as soon as you can in case your landlord tries to go ahead with an illegal eviction.

Contact your council early

Your council should help if you’re threatened with illegal eviction. They can speak to your landlord and could prosecute. 

You might have to keep trying to get through to the right council team.

Find out how to get help from the council when facing illegal eviction.

When you get through, ask for the number of someone you can call if your landlord turns up at the property.

Speak to a renters union

Renters unions are community organisations that help defend your housing rights. They may be able to help you:

  • negotiate with your landlord 

  • get support from the council

  • resist an illegal eviction

Find out more about renters unions and how you can contact them.

Get legal advice

Get legal advice as soon as you can.

Have a plan for who you’ll call

It can help to have someone with you if your landlord does turn up.

They may be able to help speak to your landlord or offer emotional support. Think about who you could call. 

It could be:

  • someone at the council

  • someone at a renters union

  • a friend or family member

Keep records

Records can be used as evidence against your landlord.

Save any messages or emails that you and your landlord send to each other.

Write down anything they do that could count as harassment.

Find out more about how to keep these records

Change the locks yourself 

If you feel unsafe you have the right to change the locks yourself.

If you can, keep the old locks so you can put them back at the end of your tenancy. 

Put this notice on your door

If you’re worried your landlord will change the locks while you are out, you could put this notice or a similar document on your door.

Download and print this notice and put it on your door. If you don't have a printer you could copy it or write something similar.

Message your landlord

Tell your landlord in writing that illegal eviction is a criminal offence.

Explain what actions you have taken and the potential consequences of illegal eviction.

You have threatened to evict me from: address of property here

I am the tenant at the above address.  

You have threatened to evict me without giving me proper notice and getting a court order for eviction. 

If you evict me, this will count as illegal eviction under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

Penalties for illegal eviction include:

  • an unlimited fine

  • a custodial prison sentence 

  • civil action with unlimited damages 

Landlords must follow 3 steps to evict tenants: 

  • give the tenant a valid eviction notice 

  • apply for a court order 

  • apply for a bailiff's warrant

I have: change the below based on what you've done

  • contacted my council to report the eviction threat

  • contacted the police

  • sought legal advice

Your name

Your phone number

Your email address

If you call the police

You could call the police to report threats of illegal eviction so that they have a record of the situation if things get worse.

The police often don’t understand the law on illegal eviction so they may tell you it’s a civil matter.

Find out what you can expect from the police so you can decide if you want to call them.

Last updated: 30 March 2021

If you need to talk to someone, we'll do our best to help

Get help