Tenants guide to understanding harassment and illegal eviction


Illegal Eviction or Harassment

You may be a victim of Illegal Eviction or Harassment if any of the following has happened

If your landlord has:

  • Stopped services, such as water, electricity or gas
  • Refused to carry out essential repairs to the property
  • Used threats and physical violence towards you
  • Demonstrated anti-social behaviour (incl. from the landlord’s agent, friends or family)
  • Forced you to sign agreements that take away your legal rights
  • Pressured you to leave where the legal process for possession has not been followed
  • Removed or restricted essential services such as hot water or heating
  • Failed to pay bills so that these services are cut off
  • Made visits to the property, particularly late at night or without warning
  • Entered the accommodation when you are not there, or without your permission
  • Stopped you from having guests
  • Tampered with your mail
  • Persistently offers you money to leave
  • Intentionally moved in other tenants who cause nuisance
  • Harassed you because of gender, race, disability or sexuality

you may be the victim of harassment.

If your landlord has:

  • Forced you to leave your accommodation by threatening or harassment
  • Physically thrown you out
  • Stopped you from getting into parts of your home
  • Changed the locks while you are out
  • Evicted you without a court order or bailiff procedure
  • Evicted you without the required notice period

you may be the victim of illegal eviction.

Landlords cannot evict you without following the correct legal steps. Breaches of the law can give rise to civil action and may be a Criminal Offence.

You may not be protected under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 if:

  • You are a lodger
  • Living in a council or housing association hostel
  • Living in emergency accommodation, while your homelessness application is being processed.

What can you do?

Contact the Police

If physical violence occurs, call 999 to report emergencies or 101 for non-emergencies. 

Private Sector Housing

Call 01209 615 629 or email psh@cornwall.gov.uk  

If there is enough evidence of illegal eviction/harassment, they may start legal proceedings. They may also negotiate with your landlord to allow you to stay in your home.

Housing Options at Cornwall Housing

Threatened with homelessness? Need advice?

The court

To apply for an injunction to get back into your home or stop your landlord from harassing you. You can also apply for compensation or damages where applicable.

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