Unlawful Eviction Solicitors
Blackheath, Petts Wood & Bexleyheath
If a landlord does not follow the proper formal procedure for eviction of a tenant, he/she may be committing a criminal offence punishable by a maximum fine of £5,000, a prison sentence of up to six months or both.
In addition, it is also a criminal offence if the landlord uses or threatens violence to make a tenant move out of the property, or they harass the tenant so that they do not feel at peace living at the property.
Eviction can be very traumatic and distressful, particularly where the tenant has nowhere else to stay. The law acknowledges this and has therefore introduced laws to ensure that any eviction is fair, even where there was no written tenancy agreement in place.
To follow the proper procedure in respect of an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, which most tenancies are, the landlord should:-
- give notice, giving the tenant two months to leave the property
- obtain a court order for possession, by providing the court with a satisfactory reason for the eviction, for example, non-payment of rent
- apply to the court bailiffs, who are the only persons legally entitled to evict a tenant.
Depending upon the circumstances of the eviction, the tenant may be able to make an application through the civil courts to enable them to return to the property, or for damages that resulted due to an unlawful eviction. Damages in certain circumstances may be substantial, for example, where there is loss or damage to possessions or physical or mental illness.
If a tenant is in occupation by licence, different rules apply to eviction, however, even if you believe that the occupation is by licence and that is how you have described it to the occupant, it does not necessarily mean that in law it is not classified as a tenancy.
Please call for advice if you are considering evicting an occupant so that we can advise you of the appropriate action that should be taken to ensure your eviction is not unlawful. Alternatively, if you are faced with an unlawful eviction claim we will be able to assist you in defending such a claim. Please call us on 0208 301 4884 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.