Illegal Eviction & Harassment
The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 makes it a criminal offence for any person to evict a tenant without following the correct legal procedure. The Act also makes it a criminal offence for a landlord, their agent or any person to harass a tenant with the aim of making them leave their home.
What action can be taken?
The Environmental Health Officer may try to resolve the dispute between the landlord and tenant, if this seems appropriate. If the Environmental Health Officer believes there is enough evidence, the Council may consider taking on a criminal prosecution.
The prosecution will be taken by the Council and will not cost the tenant anything, although they will have to attend Court to give evidence. If the prosecution is successful the landlord will be fined or imprisoned and they will then have a criminal record.
What is Unlawful Eviction?
Unlawful eviction occurs when a residential occupier is unlawfully deprived of either all or part of their accommodation. A landlord or agent must serve the correct notice on the tenant and make an application to the court for possession.
What is Harassment?
It is an offence for landlords or their agents to:
• Act so that they are likely to interfere with the peace and comfort of their tenants.
• Withdraw necessary services from people living in the accommodation (necessary services include water, gas and electricity, or lifts in a block of flats).
• Act in a way that they know or have reasonable cause to believe that these actions are likely to cause the tenants to leave their home or refrain from exercising their rights.
unless they can show that they have good reason for doing these things.
Common Examples of Unlawful Eviction Are:
• Being locked out of a room
• Being deprived of a room that is normally shared with other people e.g. kitchen or living room
• Having part of the home taken away as a consequence of building works
Being turned out of your home.
If you have been illegally evicted from your home or suffer any form of harassment from you landlord you can contact the Home Improvement Team on 01267 234567 and an experienced officer will deal with your enquiry and try to resolve it as quickly as possible.
Landlords- If you have a difficult tenant that you wish to evict you must go through the correct legal process and serve them with the appropriate notice. This will depend on the following:
• The length of time the occupant has been at the property for and the original period given on the agreement i.e. minimum of 6 Months. To end a tenancy within the first 6 months of the tenancy or the period given on the ariginal agreement you must serve a Section 8 Notice under the Housing Act 1988 and then proceed to court.
• When the assured shorthold period has ended the tenacy will automatically become a ‘statutory periodic tenancy’ which will run from each rental period. The landlord must serve a minimum 2 months notice (not 8 weeks) requiring posession of the property. It must be served before the next rental period and come to an end at least 2 months later but on the day before the next rent would be due.
If the rent is due on the 12 day of every month and todays date is the 10 September 2010 the soonest you could bring that tenancy to an end would be the 11 November 2010.
If the date is the 19 September 2010, you will have already missed the rental period therefore the soonest you could bring the tenancy to an endwould be the 12 December 2010.
• If the tenant doesn’t leave then you must make an application to the county court for possession and give evidence. You may also make an application for costs incurred and loss of rent etc.
• If you operate a House in Multiple Occupation that isnt licenced or fail to put a deposit in a certified scheme you will not be able to serve a valid notice to quit on the tenants.
If you require further information oor advice please contact the Home Improvement Team on 01267 234567 or you may wish to speak to a private solicitor.
Illegal Eviction & Harassment Guide (DETR Booklet)