Illegal eviction and harassment
If you have been threatened with eviction but it has not actually occurred there is only a limited amount of help available to you as the process for formal action can only start when you have actually been illegally evicted from the property. We will liaise with the landlord to help you return to the property. Our Housing Options or Homelessness Teams may be able to provide advice and information on emergency rehoming, although this will be dependent upon individual case circumstances.
If you have received a "Notice to Quit" from your landlord you may want to obtain further advice from a Solicitor or the Citizens' Advice Bureau, or, again, our Housing team may be able to help you.
The correct legal procedure a landlord must follow to require a tenant to leave will vary according to the type of tenancy. In most cases, tenants will be entitled to a Notice to Quit. Illegal eviction might include:
- Being evicted from your home without sufficient Notice
- Normally 8 weeks Notice required from your landlord for Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) (may be shorter if there are rent arrears of 8 weeks or more)
- Being evicted without written Notice
- Returning home to find the door locks have been changed
- Being evicted without a court order (there are some exceptions)
The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 aims to protect a broad range of occupants, known as "residential occupiers". It is a criminal offence if any person "unlawfully deprives the residential occupier of his occupation of the premises or any part thereof, or attempts to do so", in other words, a landlord cannot (except in a few cases) evict a tenant from a property without gaining consent through the courts.
Most tenants and licensees who occupy premises as a residence are within this definition whilst they remain in occupation and can only be evicted by a Court Order. However, exceptions include sharing a property and/or amenities with your landlord or their family, if you have a Bare or Contractual Licence, or are a lodger. In these cases the period of required Notice may be shorter, may only need to be "reasonable", or may be dependent upon your job continuing. If the accommodation is tied to your employment the right to occupy may end at the same time as the job finishes, although this should be stated in your employment contract and therefore already advised to you.
A landlord must serve a Notice to Quit on their tenants which usually gives 4 or 8 weeks notice period to leave (depending on the circumstance or the tenancy or licence type). Assured Shorthold Tenancies require two months' Notice and the notice period can only expire at the end of a complete rental period. After this time period the Landlord must go to Court to get a possession summons (except in the case of a Bare Licence).
Only on the Court's authority and by means of an official of the Court can a tenant be forced to vacate a premises.
To report an illegal eviction, you can either use this report it form or call us on 01903 737755.
Interfering with your peace and comfort in your home
Persistently withdrawing or withholding services
Persistently entering your home without an appointment or prior warning
Give up their occupancy of part or all of the property
Refrain from exercising any right in respect of the whole or part of the premises
Refrain from pursuing any remedy in respect of the whole or part of the premises