Do Not Evict Tenants Illegally - Seek Expert Legal Advice21st Sep 2020
Landlords frustrated at not being allowed to evict late-paying tenants because of Covid-19 rules are being warned not to take the law into their own hands.
Illegal evictions have soared by 50% in some parts of the country since the pandemic began. In London, a tenant was beaten unconscious and left homeless after being three days late with his rent.
In other instances, landlords have been changing locks and seizing tenants’ possessions.
Coles Miller debt recovery manager Eric Holt said: “Recent changes in the eviction process are delaying many landlords from legitimately being able to secure possession of their properties.
“But as frustrating as this may be, landlords who take possession illegally (in breach of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977) may face criminal proceedings.”
Sanctions can also include an:
- order to pay costs
- award for damages to be paid to the tenant.
“Landlords should think twice before embarking on a course of action that may ultimately make their own lives much more difficult,” said Mr Holt.
“While the government is attempting to manage the Covid pandemic and helping tenants to remain in properties, landlords might do better to lobby their local MP to make changes to the new laws.”
Under the new rules, most tenants must now be given six months’ notice of eviction. But there are exceptions for domestic abuse, anti-social behaviour, six months or more of rent arrears, immigration breaches plus a range of other criteria.