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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Illegal Eviction

I often get landlords asking me if they can change the locks of the property because their tenant has not paid rent - the answer to this is no. If you require possession you must follow the correct procedure of serving Notice and obtaining a possession order through the Court.

Changing the locks is both a criminal and civil offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. Through the Civil Courts the tenant could claim an injunction against the landlord for immediate access to the property, alliteratively they can claim compensation to cover their costs in paying for emergency accommodation and distress and inconvenience. The Court could also make a special award to the tenant which is the difference between the value of the property it if was sold with vacant possession or sold with a tenant in occupation. The landlord would also have to pay both their own and the tenant's legal costs, if the matter went to a full hearing you could be looking at £8000 per party.

In the Criminal Courts you could either be given a fine or a custodial sentence. Landlord Mohammed Khubiab was fined £400 for illegally evicting his tenant and ordered to pay costs of £1265. He was also ordered to pay compensation to the tenant in the sum of £2890.

Although the process of serving Notice and going through the Court process seems long and costly, it is cheaper than a claim for illegal eviction.

If you would like any advice on obtaining possession of your property please email me at


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