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What makes an eviction illegal?

Lucy Graudus
Written by Lucy Graudus

An illegal eviction is what happens when you are forced out of your home by someone who doesn’t have the legal right to, like your landlord. An eviction can only happen legally if your landlord follows the correct procedure. These procedures can vary depending on the kind of tenancy you have.

How you could you be illegally evicted?
  • Your landlord changes the locks without telling you
  • Your landlord forcefully stops you from getting into your home
  • Your landlord makes life so uncomfortable for you that you are pressured to leave your home, such as cutting off water, gas or electricity supplies or by constantly turning up at your home unannounced late at night
  • You’re physically removed from the property by a person who is not a Sheriff Officer
What’s illegal eviction by a joint tenant?

Illegal evictions can also be carried out by joint tenants. For example, your ex-partner could illegally evict you by changing the locks or removing your things from the property.

What about my possessions?

Sometimes landlords move your belongings out of their property and leave them for you in the street or the garden. If this happens to you, you should act quickly to prevent your belongings from being stolen or damaged by moving them somewhere safe. In the long term, you might be able to claim compensation from your landlord to cover any damage or theft of your belongings. Remember, the court will only award compensation that’s reasonable. If you didn’t do anything to move your belongings somewhere safe, the court may award you less compensation.

If I’m at risk of being evicted illegally, what should I do?

The council often has members of staff who deal with problems with private tenancies, like negotiating with your landlord. We would strongly recommend reporting any incident to the police immediately by calling them on 101. Keep a diary and collect evidence of your landlord’s actions against you, such as photos and letters. This evidence may be useful should your case go to court.

This advice applies to all tenants, no matter what kind of tenancy agreement you have. If you think your landlord might be trying to evict you illegally, get in touch with us.