This article will provide you with information on what you should do if you are being harassed by your landlord or someone connected to them or being illegally evicted.
Harassment occurs when the landlord, or someone connected to the landlord, does anything that can stop a tenant living quietly and safely in their home.
Illegal eviction occurs when a tenant is forced out of their home without the landlord following the correct procedures.
As a tenant, you are legally entitled to 'quiet enjoyment' of your home. Harassment does not have to be extreme, however it is a serious criminal offence for a landlord or any individual to harass a tenant. It can include such actions as:
- Being refused access to parts of your home
- Entering your home when you are not there or without permission
- Threatening violence
- Stopping you having guests
- Tampering with or interfering with your personal possessions
- Changing locks whilst you are out
- Allowing the property to fall into disrepair, forcing you out of the property
- Cutting off utility supplies to the property (gas, electricity, water)
Actions such as these are likely to constitute criminal offences under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.
Important! If you are a licensee (lodger) and rent a room from a resident landlord, you are not protected under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. If you are experiencing any form of harassment from your landlord, contact a Private Sector Housing Rights Officer at Portsmouth City Council on +44(0)23 9283 4899.
If you are unsure if your landlord's behaviour constitutes harassment, contact Student Housing for further advice.
Before taking any self-help action, you must ask the landlord formally, in writing, to stop the offending behaviour. You must keep a copy of the letter or email, which should be dated. If you send a letter, send it via recorded delivery so you know it has been received or, deliver it by hand and get someone to photograph you posting it through the letterbox as proof it was delivered.
If you feel the harassment is serious, then call the police, especially if you are verbally or physically threatened.
As a tenant, you have a certain security of tenure and are protected under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, which states that a landlord can only legally regain possession of a property from tenants who do not leave voluntarily, via a court order.
This means that your landlord cannot evict you or force you to leave your home without a court order. If they attempt to evict you without a court order, they are committing a criminal offence.
There are several ways that a landlord could attempt illegal eviction:
- Changing the locks while you are out
- Denying you access to part or all of your home
- Physically throwing you out of your home
If your landlord illegally evicts you from your home, contact the Private Sector Housing Rights Officers at Portsmouth City Council on +44(0)23 9268 8369 or contact the police.
If you are being harassed by your landlord or are threatened with illegal eviction, it is important that you keep a record of each incident (taking care to include what was said, who was there, the date and the time).
Contact Student Housing
If you are experiencing any of these issues please contact the Student Housing department, contact details are available here