Unlawful eviction and harassment
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Unlawful eviction and harassment is a criminal offence in the United Kingdom under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. It is the crime of a landlord or agent unlawfully evicting or harassing his tenant.
Unlawful eviction is the deprivation of occupation of a residential occupier of any premises of his occupation or any part of it or attempts to do so :s1(2) of 1977 Act. Actions such as changing the locks R v Yuthiwattana (1984) 16 HLR 49, CA or locking a lavatory door R v Burke (1991) 22 HLR 433, HL all constitute unlawful eviction.
Conduct that could amount to harassment under the Act includes interfering with peace and comfort of a residential occupier or members of his household or persistently withdrawing or withholding services that are needed for the occupation of the premises used as residence: section 1(3A).
A landlord evicting a tenant should follow the correct legal procedure which normally requires the service of a notice, a possession order from the court and the bailiff's warrant. Landlords or landlords' agents should seek legal advice and assistance to evict tenants.