Problems when renting privately

Illegal evictions

Depending on your rights to access the property, if the locks have been changed you may have been illegally evicted.

If you rent privately, you are probably an assured shorthold tenant and your landlord cannot evict you without a court order.

As long as you have a legal right to live there, your landlord cannot stop you using any part of the property by:

  • Issuing threats
  • Bullying
  • Violence
  • Withholding services such as gas or electricity
  • Or any other sort of interference.

In certain circumstances landlords and letting agents can be prosecuted for harassment and illegal evictions.

If you rent a room in your landlord's home and share some accommodation with them, such as a kitchen or bathroom, you are legally not a tenant, but a lodger or an excluded occupier.

Excluded occupiers have very few legal rights. You may have some contractual rights which have been agreed verbally with your landlord or that are set out in your agreement. However, he or she only needs to give reasonable notice to ask you to leave. This is normally 28 days but could be shorter.

Your landlord doesn't need a possession order from the court to evict you, but they can get one if they choose to. You'll be trespassing if you stay in the accommodation without your landlord's permission after the notice period has ended. If a bailiff attends, they must carry a photo ID of the Court Enforcement organisation they work for. If in doubt call the Court or Police.

Download more information on Illegal evictions and harassment (PDF)