Preventing harassment and illegal eviction
- Early communication can prevent problems getting worse
- Keep a written record of communication that you can refer to if problems arise
There might be things you can do to stop your landlord or letting agent carrying out any threats to evict or harass you.
Sometimes your landlord may not know that they are acting unlawfully and by talking to them you might be able to come to an agreement. Sometimes it might help to explain your situation and any problems you are having, for example, with paying your rent.
Are you in rent arrears?
It’s important to speak to your landlord as soon as possible if you fall behind with your rent. Explain why you haven’t been able to pay and try to negotiate a way of paying back money that you owe.
Make sure that your landlord has calculated the rent arrears correctly before you agree a repayment plan.
Even if your landlord wants you to leave because of your rent arrears, s/he must still follow the correct legal procedure.
Click here for more advice on dealing with rent arrears and debts.
Is the landlord coming round to inspect the property too often?
You must allow your landlord access to your home if they need to inspect it for the purposes of repairs. They should give you reasonable notice (usually at least 24 hours) before coming round, unless it’s an emergency.
Landlords only have the right to enter the parts of your home that need repair work done. If they need to fix the kitchen sink, for example, it doesn’t mean that they can look round the rest of your home without your permission.
Your landlord should not need to come round very often to inspect the property. If they are coming more often than you would like, or letting themselves in without your permission, it could be considered harassment.
Try to speak to them and agree how often it is acceptable to have the property inspected.
Does your renting agreement give you strong rights?
Some types of renting agreements give occupiers more protection from eviction and rent increases. This is particularly true for occupiers who have a regulated tenancy (which may be the case if your agreement started before 15 January 1989) and also for those with a secure occupation contract. Some landlords may harass or illegally evict occupiers in order to replace them with others who have a less secure type of renting agreement.
Landlords sometimes illegally evict a regulated tenant because they are paying a lower rent, because the amount is controlled by the rent officer. If you think that this is the reason your landlord is harassing you, or has illegally evicted you, get help.
Have you been away for a while?
If you go away for a long time without telling your landlord, they may mistakenly think that you have abandoned your home and are not planning to return.
Avoid any misunderstanding by always letting your landlord know when you plan to be away for any length of time and explaining that you plan to return. Make sure you make arrangements for the rent to be paid while you are away.
If your landlord says you have abandoned your home and has stopped you getting back in, please read our advice here.
If your landlord has rented the property to someone else while you have been away, or won’t let you back in for another reason, you should get help.
Is your landlord selling the property?
In some cases your landlord may be trying to sell the property and want to bring people round to view your home. Unless you agreed to it in your renting agreement, your landlord does not have the right to show people around your home without your permission and could be guilty of harassment if they do so. Even if your agreement does have a term saying that you allow viewings, it might be an unfair term. Any term that is unfair can’t be enforced by the landlord.
If your landlord wants to bring people around, they should give you reasonable notice and do so at a convenient time. If you prefer not to allow this you may refuse and your landlord will have to wait until you are evicted or get a court order allowing them access.