What if the landlord wants to get rid of the tenant so he can sell a flat/house?
1. Keep a good account of all incidences of harassment and contact with the landlord. The record will be useful if you have to take further action at a later date. The record could take the form of a diary, including the time, date and place where any incident took place and a short description of what happened. If possible take photographs of any damage the landlord has caused to the property or your belongings. Finally you should take short statements from any witnesses to the incidents.
2. You should formalise the contact you have with your landlord. This will help provide you with evidence about what has happened in case of a dispute in the future. You should keep copies of all letters sent to the landlord and if you have a conversation with your landlord it is a good idea to follow this up with a letter that confirms what was said and what was agreed. You could also write a letter to your landlord telling him that if the harassment continues you may have to take legal action but make sure you seek some advice first from your local council or advice centre.
3. Finally you should report any incidents to the local council and an advice centre. You should also report any serious or violent incidents to the police. This will create an independent record of what is happening and could help you to resolve the issue.
If you live in shared accommodation it is possible that your landlord is also harassing other tenants in the property. If this is the case, then you could all join together to form a resident's association to approach the landlord as a group. You will have more bargaining power if you act together and your landlord will not be able to single out one person.
If you have been illegally evicted, you may have the right to re-enter your home, even if your landlord has changed the locks. It is vital that you seek advice from your local council or Citizens Advice Bureau before doing so. Otherwise, you might be committing a criminal offence. If your landlord has not rented your home out to someone else, you may be able to obtain a court order for your landlord to let you back into your home.
If you are certain that you have been illegally evicted and have the right to re-enter your home, be very careful not to damage the building. If you break or damage any part of the property (such as the door), you could be responsible for the repairs and you could be committing criminal damage. If you change the lock, you should keep the old lock (and any keys), and return them to the landlord.
In some cases the police may be willing to attend while you re-enter your home, in order to ensure that there is not a breach of the peace, this would be a wise step to take.
If your landlord has illegally evicted you, and your belongings are still in your home, you have a right to get them back, even if you have rent arrears. If your landlord keeps hold of your belongings and refuses to return them to you, this is an offence known as conversion and you may be able to take your landlord to court.
You may be able to get an injunction and/or claim damages.
This article was written by solicitors from Simpson Millar LLP. For further legal advice call us on 0808 129 3319 or visit www.simpsonmillar.co.uk