What is illegal eviction?

Landlords must follow the correct procedures to evict tenants

Actions that count as illegal eviction

It's usually illegal eviction if your landlord:

  • forces you to leave by threatening or harassing you

  • physically throws 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.

Landlords usually need to get a court order and ask bailiffs to evict you if you are a tenant.

When landlords can evict you themselves

Your landlord can evict you themselves and don't need to get a court order if you are:

Your landlord must give you reasonable notice to leave. 

Your contract or agreement may say how long this should be. They can change the locks while you are out.

It is a criminal offence for your landlord to use threats or violence to evict you

When only bailiffs can evict you

Most tenants can only be evicted by bailiffs after the landlord has got a court order. 

This includes if you are:

What you can do about illegal eviction

You can take these steps when you are evicted illegally:

  • contact your council for advice and support

  • apply for an illegal eviction injunction  

  • make sure you get your belongings back

  • take action to get your deposit back

  • apply for compensation

  • contact the police if you are in immediate danger

Get free legal advice

Get advice from a Shelter adviser immediately if you're facing eviction.

Last updated: 18 March 2019

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