Evictions & harassment
You are protected under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, which makes it a criminal offence for your landlord to evict you without following the correct legal procedure. The Act also makes it a criminal offence for your landlord, their agent or any other person, to harass you with the aim of making you leave your home.
In order to evict you, your landlord must go through the correct legal process and serve you with the appropriate notice.
This depends on the following:
- The length of time you have lived at the property and the original period given on the agreement i.e. minimum of six months. To end a tenancy within the first six months of the tenancy, or the period given on the original agreement, your landlord must serve a Section 8 Notice under the Housing Act 1988 and then proceed to court.
- When the assured shorthold period has ended the tenancy will automatically become a ‘statutory periodic tenancy’ which will run from each rental period. Your landlord must serve a minimum of two months notice (not eight weeks) requiring possession of the property. It must be served before the next rental period and come to an end at least two months later but on the day before the next rent would be due.
- In order to enforce your eviction, your landlord must make an application to the county court for possession and give evidence. They may make an application for you to pay any costs they’ve incurred and any rent you owe etc.
- If your landlord has been operating a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) that isn’t licensed, or if they failed to put your deposit in a certified scheme, they will not be able to serve a valid notice on you.
Common examples of unlawful eviction include:
- Locking you out
- Depriving you of use of a room that is normally shared with other people e.g. kitchen or living room
- Depriving you of part of the property as a consequence of building works
Unless they can prove that they have a good reason for doing so, it is an offence for your landlord or their agents to:
- interfere with your peace and comfort
- withdraw necessary services, including water, gas and electricity, or lifts in a block of flats
- act in such a way as to cause you to leave your property or stop you from exercising your rights.
If you believe your landlord is harassing you, we will try to help resolve the differences, if this is appropriate. If there is enough evidence, we may consider taking on a criminal prosecution and ask you to attend court to give evidence. If the prosecution is successful your landlord may be fined or imprisoned, resulting in them receiving a criminal record.