A good landlord is a generally law-abiding citizen, always happy to provide their tenants with homes that are safe and secure. However, those who abuse their power as property owners or administrators often end up in court battles, which can sometimes become even more stressful for their tenants because they would rather go rogue than proceed with any helpful action.
Rogue landlords do not fulfill their legal duties and responsibilities as administrators of rented properties. They can often operate without any landlord license and the government-required fire and gas safety certificates. Some might still operate with Energy Performance Certificates that show low ratings. They may also try to get away from the standard obligations of maintaining the rented property in good condition and up to basic legal standards, such as being lax on obtaining an Electrical Installation Condition Report after each tenant and doing related electrical repairs, which could lead you in danger of losing power or becoming injured by old wiring.
Unfortunate tenants are charged exorbitant fees and some are provided with unsuitable accommodations, such as beds in sheds. These are makeshift shelters in garages, garden houses, or shacks that do not have building permits or planning permissions. These rogue landlords exploit the tenants and harass them by unjustly evicting them from the property, especially if the tenants do not agree with their illegal policies or report them to the local authorities.
There are procedures for legally evicting tenants that landlords and letting agents must follow. However, if they threaten you with eviction because you reported their rogue activities to the local authorities or for some other reason, this is considered an illegal eviction. Landlords often prefer to just evict a tenant and find another renter rather than spend money on repairs.
As it is a criminal offense, errant landlords treat tenants with disrespect and rudeness. Aside from harassment, they would use force to kick you out, prevent you from entering some parts of the property, and without informing you ahead, they may change the locks so you will not have access to your belongings and your rented home.
Your landlord will be committing a crime if they unjustly evict you. If you are in a privately rented home, you live in a student hall, or in a council house, only a bailiff can evict you. If someone other than a bailiff threatens to evict you from your rented home, that is considered an illegal eviction.
How to stop an illegal eviction
You can prevent an impending unjust eviction by speaking to your council immediately after hearing the threat. They should communicate with your landlord and, if everything goes well for you, they will be prosecuted by the council or the landlord will stand down.
Speak with a tenants’ union first as their role is to defend the housing rights of tenants. Aside from helping you resist the eviction, communicate and negotiate with your landlord, they can also help you reach out to the council to get their support.
To discourage your rogue landlord from changing your locks or moving forward with the unjust eviction, you can post a notice on the door or send them a letter notifying them that you know your rights as a tenant against what they are planning. Inform them that there are three steps they must follow to legally evict you:
- The eviction notice must be valid
- They must present a court order
- They must present a valid bailiff’s warrant
Also, inform them that you have already taken precautionary measures to protect yourself from the impending eviction. Let them know that you have contacted the council, the police, and your lawyers. These three documented steps are also important as the records they will have can serve as evidence against your landlord.
How to protect yourself
When reporting any housing issue with your landlord, such as repairs, it is important to protect yourself so they cannot carry out a retaliatory eviction against you. Report any disrepair in your home to them by sending them an email, SMS, or letter, complete with photos and videos of the areas that need to be repaired. The written letter will hold up better as evidence in court, as this is still considered a standard official document.
The first letter can trigger your landlord to serve you with a Section 21 notice or an unjust eviction on you. If they do not respond within 14 to 21 days, you may send a follow-up letter to remind them of your request for repair. If your landlord continues ignoring your repair requests, you can proceed by contacting the Environmental Health Office of your local council. They should pay you a visit to inspect your home and serve the “notice for improvement” to your landlord if there is disrepair that needs seeing to. This will require that the repairs be done in a particular timeline, or your landlord will need to pay a heavy fine.
If your landlord does not take action even after the Environmental Health Office sent them the notice, the EHO can either proceed with the repairs themselves or prosecute the landlord. Or, you can contact the housing disrepair experts at Disrepair Claim. They can assist you with your case against your rogue landlord.