Tenants are protected from illegal eviction and harassment by the Protection from Eviction Act (1977). It's vitally important that you feel safe and secure in your home and you should not tolerate threats or harassment from your landlord. There are clear legal processes to follow if your landlord wishes to end your tenancy. If they fail to follow these steps they may be acting illegally and the Housing Enforcement team can intervene.
I'm a tenant. When do I have to let my landlord into my home?
If you have said the landlord cannot come in and they try to force entry you should call 999.
What is considered harassment?
Harassment can include anything done by a landlord, their agent, or any other person acting on the owner's behalf, which deliberately unsettles you in your home.
Some examples of this might be:
- changing the locks or removing the tenant’s belongings
- constant telephone calls and/or text messages
- cutting off or interfering with services
- entering the home without the tenant’s permission
- harassment because of the tenant’s age, race, gender or sexuality
- sending in builders without notice or visiting at unsociable hours
- stopping tenants from having visitors to stay
- threatening the tenant if they refuse to leave the property
- threats, abuse or actual violence
You can also apply for a harassment order or injunction from a Court, which will carry a serious penalty should your landlord breach it. You may need a solicitor to help with the application and you may be eligible for legal aid depending on your circumstances (see "Taking your own action" tab).
In circumstances where the behaviour becomes so bad that you are forced to leave your property, the matter becomes illegal eviction (see below).
What is illegal eviction?
Illegal or unlawful eviction is when a landlord or someone acting on their behalf, unlawfully deprives a tenant of all or part of their home, or attempts to force tenants to leave without following the correct legal procedures.
Some examples of this might be:
- changing the locks
- moving into part of the home
- physically throwing the tenants out - you should call 999 if the landlord or people acting for the landlord attempt to do this.
- stopping tenants from using part of their home
Only a bailiff acting under a Court Order can forcibly evict you from your home.
Illegal eviction is a criminal offence which can be punishable with a prison sentence. If you have been illegally evicted, please visit the Homelessness Section on the St Leger Homes website to deal with your immediate housing situation (alternatively you can come directly to the Civic Office, Waterdale, Doncaster, DN1 3BU between 830AM and 5PM). You can also make a report directly to us using the reporting button below. The Housing Enforcement team deal with legal enforcement of the Protection from Eviction Act (1977) and are likely to ask you for a witness statement concerning what has happened. Please retain any communication you have received from your landlord leading up to the eviction as this can form important evidence for us to use in the case.
For details of the correct procedure to be followed in order to end a tenancy, please visit our tenancy management page.
Shelter can provide very helpful support and information to tenants who have been the victim of illegal eviction and can provide legal assistance in taking your own legal action against your landlord. Please visit their website for further details
Taking your own action
You can take your landlord to court if you wish to claim compensation for harassment or illegal eviction. You can start this process by using form N1 or you can ask for assistance from a solicitor (some legal firms operate this service on a "no win, no fee" basis). Some tenants will be eligible for legal aid for this type of action and you can check this here. Court fees are chargeable for this type of action, however there maybe exemptions. You can learn more about this here.
Harassment and illegal eviction are both criminal offences. If you are the victim of such actions, you can report it here.