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

  • kicks you out or uses physical force to make you leave

  • stops you from getting into parts of your home

  • changes the locks while you're out

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 following the correct legal steps.

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 bailiff makes you leave, 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 did it by accident it will not be illegal, but the notice will not 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.

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.

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: 6 October 2023

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