A landlord cannot enter a property that they have rented to a tenant without the tenant’s permission. To do so would be regarded as trespass.
If a landlord entered the property and changed the locks in a bid to regain possession of the property, they would be committing a criminal offence. This is known as an illegal eviction.
A landlord cannot take such measures even if a tenant has outstanding arrears or has damaged the property. The landlord must follow correct eviction procedures if they wish to regain possession of their property. The only people authorised to perform an eviction are bailiffs or high court sheriffs. Bailiffs and high court sheriffs can only be instructed once the landlord has obtained a possession order from the court.
If a landlord performs an illegal eviction, they leave themselves open to criminal sanctions and civil action from the council or tenant. The tenant will have the right to report the matter to the police. They could also pursue the landlord in the county court for compensation and an order preventing the landlord from performing the illegal eviction.
It is important to note that some tenants may be entitled to free legal advice or assistance depending on their personal and financial circumstances.
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