It sometimes happens that relationships between a landlord and tenant become strained. Tenants renting a property from a private landlord are, however, protected against harassment and illegal eviction. If a landlord’s actions amount to harassment or illegal eviction, they may be committing a serious criminal and civil offence and may be prosecuted. A tenant may also be able to claim damages through the civil court.
The law makes it an offence to:
Harassment can take many forms and can include:
The information above relates to harassment in a housing / tenancy situation. There are, however, many forms of harassment when a person’s unwanted conduct has the purpose or effect of:
Harassment may involve repeated forms of unwanted behaviour but a one-off incident can also amount to harassment. Acts of harassment may be unlawful. Harassment on grounds of sex, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or age may amount to unlawful discrimination. Harassment may also breach other legislation and may in some circumstances be a criminal offence eg under the provisions of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
Landlord’s right to get a property back from a tenant can normally only be enforced through the courts. To force a tenant out of the property by any means other than with a court order could be illegal eviction, which is a criminal and civil offence. Landlords cannot change the locks or force tenants out by other means.
To find out more about how to seek possession legally, visit our ending a tenancy page.