One of the most active and interesting articles (in my opinion) on this website is the I’m evicting my tenants blog post. It’s essentially a perfect example of me throwing my toys out of the pram and having a gutless whinge about my tenant (who genuinely deserves to be evicted, and if there’s any justice in the world, she’ll be slowly burning in hell like a skewered lamb kebab in the near future).
The post is interesting because a lot of people have been actively commenting on the article; majority of them being Landlords that are also experiencing frustrating situations with vulgar tenants.
I’ve dealt with some real scumbag tenants in my short time of being a Landlord (don’t get it twisted, I’ve dealt with some amazing tenants, too), consequently I know how stressful it can be. If I had it my way, all landlords would be well within their rights to change the locks and throw rogue tenants onto the streets (just to clarify, I’m talking about the worst of the worst kind of occupant here).
It is illegal for a Landlord to change the locks?
Yes, it is illegal for a landlord to harass or change the locks to prevent tenants from entering the property.
Tenants have a statutory legal right of “Quiet Enjoyment”, which protects them from this kind of abuse. So before you go storming into a property with the intentions of taking the law into your own hands like a crazed wild-west lunatic, think of the consequences.
Acts of illegal evictions include
- changing locks when tenants are out
- physically throwing tenants out your home
- physically stopping tenants from entering their home.
Landlords have to follow a legal procedure to evict tenants, by serving the correct sections. More on Evicting tenants legally. Illegal eviction is a serious civil and criminal offense, and a landlord can be prosecuted if guilty of doing so.
In most cases, the landlord must obtain a possession order from a county court after serving a valid Notice to Quit. The tenant doesn’t have to leave at this point, and a lot usually don’t. Only the court can decide whether the tenant has to leave the property. It will normally take several weeks before the case is decided in court.
Exceptions to the rules
The landlord does not need to obtain a court possession order to evict if:
- you have a resident landlord with whom you share facilities, like the kitchen and bathroom
- you are not paying any rent for your accommodation
In these cases, the landlord is only required to give reasonable notice to the tenant to leave the property. Once the notice has elapsed, the tenant becomes a trespasser and the landlord can legally change the locks at the property.
Are you a landlord that has been forced to change locks? Maybe you’re a tenant that has changed the locks. Tell me your story…
Disclaimer: I'm just a landlord blogger; I'm 100% not qualified to give legal or financial advice. I'm a doofus. Any information I share is my unqualified opinion, and should never be construed as professional legal or financial advice. You should definitely get advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.