Help for tenants facing eviction and harassment

Preventing illegal evictions and harassment

As a tenant you have certain rights, and it’s a crime for your landlord to harass you or try to force you out of a property without using proper procedures. If this happens, you may have a right to claim damages through the court.

Note: Your right to stay in a property will depend on the type of tenancy agreement you have. If you’re unsure what type of tenancy you have, you can use Shelter's Tenancy Checker.

Unlawful eviction

Your landlord must follow the correct legal procedure in order to ask you to leave. They cannot just remove your possessions and change the locks, and to do so is an offence.


Harassment can be anything a landlord does, or fails to do, that makes you feel unsafe in the property or forces you to leave. For example your landlord should give you 24 hours' notice before entering your home (unless it is an emergency). They cannot just walk in announced. Harassment can also include turning off or restricting services (eg water, gas, or electricity, heating), refusing to carry out repairs, or physically threatening you. Further information is available from GOV.UK.

Retaliatory or revenge evictions

A revenge or retaliatory eviction is when a landlord tries to evict you after you report repairs or complain about conditions in your home. You can help to prevent this by requesting repairs in writing and giving your landlord an opportunity to fix any issues. If your landlord or agent then does not take steps to fix the problems, you can report disrepair to us and we will carry out an inspection of your home. If we take certain enforcement action your landlord cannot lawfully evict you using a section 21 notice for six months.

Investigating illegal eviction and harassment

If you are having problems with your landlord, it is advised you contact them in writing in the first instance either by letter, e-mail or text message. Make sure you keep a record of the date you raised the problem with your landlord. Keep details of what was said by both of you.

If the issues cannot be resolved informally, you can report harassment and unlawful eviction to us. We take harassment and unlawful eviction very seriously and we will investigate and take enforcement action when appropriate.

Further information is available from Shelter and GOV.UK.