Harassment, Illegal Evictions, Fitness
If your landlord does something that interferes with your ability to enjoy living in your home in peace and is intended to make you leave your home or take away your rights, s/he could be guilty of harassment.
What is harassment?
- Removing or restricting access to services such as gas and electricity.
- Visiting your home regularly without warning.
- Interfering with your mail.
- Threatening your or your visitors
- Entering your home when you are not there/ without your permission.
- Allowing your property to fall into disrepair
- Stopping you from having guests
- Forcing you to sign agreements which take away your legal rights
- Intentionally moving in a disruptive tenant to cause nuisance to you.
- Persistently asking you to leave
- Harassment because of you race, sex or sexuality.
What is illegal eviction?
An illegal eviction takes place if your landlord makes you leave your home without following the proper legal process.
Most people who live in private rented accommodation can only be required to leave their home if the County Court has made a Possession Order against them. Even with a Possession Order, they can only be lawfully evicted by bailiffs from the County Court. Any attempt to evict a tenant without following the correct legal procedure is called an illegal eviction. It is a criminal offence if a landlord or their agent evicts a tenant without a Court Order. In many cases, this is done by changing the locks, stopping a tenant using part of their home or by forcibly throwing them out.
The proper procedure for evicting a tenant will vary dependant on the type of agreement and the reason s/he wants you to leave. In most cases this will require a written 2 months Notice to Quit and obtaining a Court Order. If you live with the landlord the rules are different, you are only entitled to a reasonable notice, normal the period of payment of rent, this notice may be given verbally.
What to do if you feel you are being harassed or threatened with unlawful eviction.
- Get in touch with the Local Authority Private Sector Housing Department
- Keep a record or diary detailing incidents/threats that have occurred, including dates and time.
- Keep all communications in writing
- If dealing with the landlord try to have a witness present
- Write to the landlord to say that if he continues his harassment you will be forced to take legal action
- Report all events to the Housing Department, Police or Solicitor.
- You may also apply to the Court for a Court Order this will require the landlord to refrain from harassing you or reinstate you to your home if you have been unlawfully evicted
- Protection from Eviction Act 1977
- Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (as amended)
- S.33 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976