How to deal with illegal eviction

What is an illegal eviction?

Landlords and letting agents must follow the correct procedures to evict tenants.

It’s an illegal eviction if your landlord or anyone acting on their behalf:

  • forces you to leave by threatening or harassing you

  • physically throws or kicks you out

  • stops you from getting into parts of your home

  • changes the locks while you're out

Illegal eviction is a criminal offence

It's a criminal offence for a landlord to evict you without following the correct legal steps.

The police or others may say it is a civil matter, but illegal eviction is not just a civil matter. 

Only bailiffs can evict you

Landlords need to get a court order and ask bailiffs to evict you if you are:

  • a private tenant

  • a student living in halls

  • a council or housing association tenant

If anyone other than a court appointed bailiff kicks you out, it’s an illegal eviction.

When a landlord can evict you without bailiffs

Your landlord can evict you themselves if you are:

  • a lodger

  • in a council or housing association hostel

  • in emergency accommodation provided by the council

They still have to follow some rules and they must not harass you.

If your landlord sends you an invalid notice

Your landlord might make a mistake on an eviction notice. If they didn't mean to it won't be illegal, but the notice won't count. They have to send another one to start the process again.

Find out more about the legal eviction process and how to check a notice is valid.

Your landlord might pressure you to leave after they have given you a notice. If they do this it could still count as harassment.

Find out what to say to your landlord if they pressure you to leave after giving you notice.

Last updated: 30 March 2021

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