Illegal eviction and harassment
Following the Prime Minister’s updates regarding the continuing Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, resurgence of cases and rapid spread of a new variant of the virus and the imposition of new and extended restrictions in 2021, about which further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home, the Private Sector Housing & Public Health team will not be undertaking site visits or property inspections until further notice, except in urgent emergency situations (as determined by the case officer) where appropriate precautions are in place.
This is not a permanent arrangement but will continue until the fall in Covid-19 cases is sufficient enough to allow the restrictions to be lifted or eased by the Government and in turn inspections recommenced by the team. Restrictions may be extended further by the Government depending upon the situation at the relevant time and these will dictate the inspection process and regime undertaken by the team for the foreseeable future.
All staff continue to work from home and have limited access to incoming and outgoing postal mail and correspondence is best via e-mail where possible. Any visits arranged during the pandemic may be subject to cancellation or change at short notice if there are changes to National, local or Council-directed policy, legislation or requirements, or where it is considered that appropriate precautions and/or social-distancing cannot be achieved.
These changes have been made to protect customers and staff from contracting or spreading the virus during these difficult times.
As well as advice on Coronavirus available via other links on the Arun District Council website, the following links may also be of particular use in regards to Housing issues: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-services-for-people-experiencing-rough-sleeping/covid-19-guidance-for-hostel-or-day-centre-providers-of-services-for-people-experiencing-rough-sleeping
Illegal Evictions 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