Can my Landlord Force me out of my Rented Property?
If you are renting and your landlord wants you out you may think that you have to bow to the pressure you are being put under and go. That isn’t correct.
In this article, our landlord and tenant solicitors look at whether your landlord can force you out of your rented property and the topic of illegal eviction.
Online and London Landlord and Tenant Solicitors
For landlord and tenant legal advice call the experts at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.
Can a tenant be kicked out of a property?
A tenant can't literally be kicked out of a property but they can be made to leave via a legal eviction process. Sometimes landlords do not know the law or are impatient or financial considerations mean they want to ride roughshod over the law.
If you are served with eviction proceedings you need to take urgent legal advice from a housing law solicitor to understand your rights. If your landlord is trying to force you out without starting eviction proceedings then this could amount to an illegal eviction and you therefore need to speak to a landlord and tenant solicitor to understand your options and remedies.
What is an illegal eviction?
A tenant may think that their landlord is within their rights to throw them out but it all depends on the nature of the tenancy agreement and if the landlord has followed the correct procedure.
Different rules apply if you are lodging with a landlord in their house rather than renting a house or flat or living in a house in multiple occupation (HMO).
Illegal eviction is when a landlord does not follow the correct procedure to evict a tenant. Illegal eviction could result in a landlord being arrested and convicted of a criminal offence so if your landlord is in the early stages of trying to get rid of you it is important that you understand your rights. That’s because you cannot rely on the police to enforce your rights as a tenant as the police may try to treat your complaint as a civil matter or side with your landlord. If you do call the police to report an illegal eviction you should get the police incident number so you have evidence of your complaint.
If you are a private renter your landlord needs a court order to evict you and only a bailiff can carry out the eviction. The landlord or their friends or the police should not evict you.
What amounts to an illegal eviction?
Illegal eviction is not confined to a landlord sending ‘the heavies’ around. It can also include:
- A landlord harassing you
- A landlord threatening you or a member of your family
- A landlord changing the locks whilst you are out
- A landlord stopping you from getting into parts of the rental property
- A landlord switching off the gas or electricity or water supply
What is harassment?
Landlord harassment is widely defined as anything that interferes with a tenant’s peaceful occupation of the rental property. For example, it includes a landlord repeatedly calling you and telling you to get out or sitting in their car at the end of the drive in an attempt to intimidate you or saying that you will not get another tenancy in the area because they will bad mouth you with all the local letting agents or they will not return your deposit unless you get out quickly.
If you are not sure if what you are experiencing amounts to landlord harassment it is best to take legal advice from a specialist landlord and tenant solicitor. You should not vacate the property until you have taken advice.
The law on illegal eviction
Section 1 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 states that any individual who deliberately and unlawfully deprives the occupier of their occupation of a property is committing a criminal offence. The Act gives residential occupiers protection from harassment and illegal eviction.
The Act makes it a criminal offence to:
- Deliberately and unlawfully deprive the occupier of their occupation of the property or
- Carry out acts intended to cause the occupier to give up the property or their rights under the tenancy
What are the consequences of illegal eviction?
If your landlord evicts you illegally then they could face:
- A criminal prosecution and criminal record if found guilty
- A custodial sentence or an unlimited fine
- A civil claim for damages – the damages are not capped
How can a landlord and tenant solicitor help you?
At OTS Solicitors our landlord and tenant lawyers can help you with:
- Your understanding of whether you are a tenant and have protection against illegal eviction
- Writing to your landlord to warn them of the civil and criminal consequences of an illegal eviction
- Checking the terms of your tenancy agreement and advising you of your rights. You may be a tenant even if you do not have a written tenancy agreement and you will still be protected from illegal eviction if a fixed-term tenancy has ended
- Applying for an injunction order to stop harassment or to prevent an illegal eviction
- If your landlord starts eviction proceedings, checking to see if they have served the right notice and if you have the grounds to object to eviction
- Sorting out the return of your deposit at the end of the tenancy agreement if there is a deposit dispute
- Sorting out the return of your belongings if your landlord removed them from the rental property or seeking compensation if your landlord has destroyed your belongings
- Advising you on your rights to damages if your landlord evicts you illegally
UK Online and London-Based Landlord and Tenant Solicitors
For landlord and tenant legal advice call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.