What is illegal eviction?

Landlords and letting agents must follow the correct procedure to evict tenants. An illegal eviction takes place if a landlord or letting agent makes you leave your home without following the right procedure.


It is illegal for your landlord to evict you without following the proper steps, even if they want to evict you because of coronavirus.

It is likely to be an illegal eviction if your landlord:

  • makes you leave without notice or a court order
  • locks you out of your home.

If your landlord tries to evict you, get advice urgently. Contact your local council, Rent Smart Wales or the police.

Can my landlord do what s/he likes?

No. There are certain actions that nearly always count as illegal eviction. Your landlord may be committing a criminal offence if s/he:

  • changes the locks while you are out
  • threatens you or forces you to leave
  • physically throws you out
  • stops you from getting into certain parts of your home.

What is the right procedure to evict me?

The correct procedure for evicting you depends on the type of agreement you have, and the reasons why you are being asked to leave.

In most cases, your landlord has to follow 3 steps :

Your landlord should begin by giving you notice that s/he wants you to leave. This might be a notice to quit, a notice of seeking possession or a ‘section 21 notice’ – depending on the type of tenancy you have.

After your notice period has finished, if your landlord would like you to go, s/he has to start court action to get a possession order. If you don’t leave on the day the court says, your landlord must ask the court to issue a bailiff’s warrant.

If your landlord does not use this process they could be illegally evicting you.

Certain occupiers are excluded, which means they can be evicted without a court order. This includes where they:

  • live in the same building as their landlord and share living accommodation (including a bathroom, or kitchen)
  • live in holiday accommodation
  • don’t have any legal obligation to pay rent (and, if your home comes with your job, you don’t give your landlord/employer the equivalent money’s worth in unpaid work)
  • live in a hostel or other temporary accommodation.

What if I live with my landlord?

If you live with your landlord in her/his home (for example, if you are a lodger), you are likely to be an excluded occupier and only entitled to reasonable notice before you have to leave. This notice can be given verbally, and should be equal to your rental period (for example, a week, if you pay your rent weekly) unless you have agreed to a different notice period in advance.

What if my landlord is violent?

If your landlord is making you feel unsafe in your home or has been violent or threatened you with violence, report them to the police by calling 101 or 999 if it is an emergency. Find contact numbers for the police here.

If you feel unsafe in your home because of violence or threats of violence from your landlord, your local council may have a duty to rehouse you. If you are in this situation, get advice.

What can I do if I’ve been illegally evicted?

If you are evicted illegally, you should get support as soon as you can:

Speak to a Shelter Cymru adviser
An adviser should be able to:

    • tell you whether you have any chance of getting back into your home or reclaiming your belongings and, if so, help you to do so
    • help you find somewhere else to live
    • help you take court action against your landlord.You may be able to get an injunction allowing you back into your home, or to claim compensation if you’ve lost out financially.

Contact your local council
The council may be able to give you advice, negotiate with your landlord and prevent you from becoming homeless. For more information on what the council can do, click here and to find the contact details of your local council, click here and enter your postcode – they may have an emergency number to ring.

Contact the police
Many illegal evictions take place after office hours so it can be difficult to get help. Illegal eviction is a criminal offence and the police should be able to help you. Call the police on 101 or 999 if it is an emergency. Find contact numbers for the police here.

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
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This page was last updated on: Ionawr 25, 2022

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.