From time to time we will post news articles and announcements relating to the Firm and about various legal issues that may be of interest to you.
Residential tenants have a lot of protection under English law. They ought to know that they have statutory rights against being evicted from their properties by their Landlords without notice.
What are Illegal Evictions?
The term 'illegal or unlawful eviction' is where a private landlord, locks his tenant out, or harasses his tenant, or literally throws him or her out of the property without notice. This is referred to as a civil dispute.
The increasing rise of property prices is fuelling demand on the rental market to the detriment of private tenants, who face fierce competition in securing basic accommodation extortionately priced.
We are coming across more and more cases of illegal evictions where unscrupulous, rogue landlords do not hesitate in evicting one tenant in favour of the another, for higher rent, or because some tenants decide to complain about poor living conditions.
Illegal Eviction and Harassment
Perhaps some landlords are not aware of the fact that such mistreatment is illegal, or perhaps they simply choose to take a risk and ignore the law, but whatever the case the consequences are serious as illegal evictions are a criminal offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 and landlords can be prosecuted and fined, or worse imprisoned.
Further, evicting a private tenant with an assured shorthold tenancy can also amount to harassment for which damages can also be awarded. There are remedies available for someone who has been unlawfully evicted. The victim tenant can seek an injunction to get back into the property and also seek statutory compensation against the landlord.
Social Landlords Beware
Social landlords should also beware as this same law applies to councils and housing associations and statutory damages for unlawful evictions can be awarded against social landlords too. In the landmark case of Loveridge v Lambeth 2014, the Supreme Court awarded Mrs Loveridge £100,000 in statutory damages for being illegally locked out by the Council.
In April 2015, to take a recent example of private landlord found guilty of unlawful eviction, the City of London Magistrates sentenced the landlord to 6 months imprisonment and ordered significant costs and damages. Cllr Lisa Homan, the Hammersmith & Fulham Council's Cabinet Member for Housing said:
"Rogue landlords cannot mistreat residents in this manner and this prosecution shows the council's determination to ensure that private tenants in the borough are treated fairly."
Should you consult a solicitor?
If you are a tenant forcibly evicted and need to regain entry into your rented home or a landlord facing charges, we would recommend that you take legal advice and seek professional help. We have the expertise and experience to help you at every stage of your case.
Contact Merchiston Solicitors
Call us on on 0203 540 6340 to speak to one of our expert housing eviction solicitors. Alternatively, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our online enquiry form.