The Private Sector Housing Service together with Housing Options are responsible for investigating allegations of harassment and eviction. These situations are rare in Rochford District, however , they are serious matters, which are fully investigated
What are tenants’ rights against harassment and illegal eviction?
The law protects people living in residential property against harassment. It does this in two ways:
- by making harassment and illegal eviction a criminal offence, as detailed in the Protection from Eviction Act and;
- by enabling someone who is harassed or illegally evicted to claim damages through the civil court.
However, where there is actual physical assault, the tenant should call the local police.
What is harassment?
This is a very broad term and can take many forms, but it is against the law for a landlord to do anything which interferes with you peacefully or comfortably occupying your home. Some of the following actions by a landlord or agent could be considered harassment:
- Using threats to get you to leave your accommodation
- Attempting to force you to leave your home or locking you out
- Withdrawal of gas, electric, water supplies e.g. the landlord has not paid the bill or disconnected the supply
- Anti-social behaviour by landlord or his agent, persistently disturbing you in your accommodation.
- Interfering with personal belongings
- The landlord, his agent or workmen entering your home without permission or giving you notice
If your landlord is doing any of these things or any other action which is giving you no choice other than to leave your home, you should seek immediate advice.
Officers will investigate your allegations and normally contact the landlord to try to resolve the dispute. If the issues cannot be resolved or there is reason to believe that an offence has been committed, the Council has the power to prosecute the landlord.
What is illegal eviction?
Your landlord must follow the correct legal procedures. In most cases, a tenant will have the right not to be evicted from their accommodation until the landlord has first obtained a formal possession order from the County Court. This order can be enforced by a bailiff appointed by the Court.