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 them. 

It may take a while to get through to the right council team. Keep trying.

When you get through, ask who to call if your landlord turns up at the property. Take their number.

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

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. You may be able to get it for free.

Have a plan for who to contact

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

They could help you speak to your landlord or offer emotional support. Think about who to contact. 

It could be:

  • a friend or family member

  • someone at the council

  • someone at a renters union

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 a record of harassment

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. 

Write to 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.

Copy this template into an email to your landlord.

[Use the subject: Illegal eviction is a criminal offence]

I am the tenant of [your address].

You have threatened to evict me without giving proper notice or getting a court order. 

This would be an illegal eviction under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

Penalties for illegal eviction can include damages, a fine and a prison sentence. 

Landlords must give a valid notice and apply for a possession order and bailiff warrant to evict a tenant legally.

I will contact the council and the police if you continue to threaten illegal eviction.

You can also send the letter as an email attachment or by post:

Put this notice on your door

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

Download and print this notice and put it on your door:

Decide whether to 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 do not 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 May 2022

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

Get help