Q&As

A lease has been forfeited by court order and a possession order obtained. Can the locks be changed even if the former tenant objects, or is a writ/warrant needed to prevent an offence under section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 if the tenant is at the property?

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Produced in partnership with Alexander Campbell of Field Court Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 15/09/2020

The following Property Disputes Q&A produced in partnership with Alexander Campbell of Field Court Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A lease has been forfeited by court order and a possession order obtained. Can the locks be changed even if the former tenant objects, or is a writ/warrant needed to prevent an offence under section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 if the tenant is at the property?
  • Eviction of a tenant

A lease has been forfeited by court order and a possession order obtained. Can the locks be changed even if the former tenant objects, or is a writ/warrant needed to prevent an offence under section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 if the tenant is at the property?

Eviction of a tenant

Section 6(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 (CLA 1977) states:

'Subject to the following provisions of this section, any person who, without lawful authority, uses or threatens violence for the purpose of securing entry into any premises for himself or for any other person is guilty of an offence, provided that—

(a) there is someone present on those premises at the time who is opposed to the entry which the violence is intended to secure; and

(b) the person using or threatening the violence knows that that is the case.'

Under the legislation which governed forcible entry to premises prior to the coming into force of CLA 1977, it had been held that merely removing locks was not unlawful so long as there was no breach of the peace committed in the process of removing the locks (see Scott v Matthew Brown & Co Ltd).

CPR 83.26(1) states:

'A judgment or order for the recovery of land will be enforceable by warrant of

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