Protection from eviction and protection from harassment

The following Property Disputes practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Protection from eviction and protection from harassment
  • Unlawful eviction and harassment—criminal offences
  • Protection from eviction—civil protection
  • Mixed-use premises
  • Recovery of abandoned property

Protection from eviction and protection from harassment

This Practice Note summarises the main offences and statutory provisions against unlawful eviction of certain tenants and licensees. For further detail of the torts and offences of unlawful eviction, and the potential remedies, see Practice Note: Unlawful eviction and quiet enjoyment.

Unlawful eviction and harassment—criminal offences

A landlord commits a criminal offence under section 1 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 (PEA 1977), if they:

  1. unlawfully deprive a residential tenant or occupier of their occupation of the premises or any part thereof, or attempt to do so (it is a defence to have believed, and had reasonable cause to believe, that the occupier had ceased to reside in the premises), or

  2. do acts likely to interfere with the peace or comfort of the residential tenant or any member of their household, or persistently withdraw or withhold services reasonably required for the occupation of the premises as a residence. The landlord must either have the intent to cause the occupier to give up occupation or refrain from exercising any right or remedy, or know, or have reasonable cause to believe, that the acts will have that effect. It is a defence to have reasonable grounds for doing the acts or withdrawing or withholding the services in question

A landlord also commits a criminal offence by using or threatening violence to secure

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