Harassment and illegal eviction

It is illegal for your landlord to harass you or force you to leave your home. A landlord or agent who does so may be liable for prosecution, which could result in a prison sentence or a fine, along with civil damages.

What is landlord harassment?

Harassment can be any action your landlord or agent takes to deliberately disrupt your life or make you leave your property. Examples of this can include:

  • Threats, abuse or physical violence
  • Entering your home without permission or sending builders in without notice or at anti-social hours
  • Withholding or restricting services such as access to hot water or heating
  • Preventing access or withholding keys
  • Anti-social behaviour from the landlord’s Agent
  • Failure to carry out repairs, or non-completion of repairs
  • Forcing the occupier(s) to sign agreements which take away their legal rights
  • Opening your post or removing your belongings
  • Abusing you because of your gender, race, sexuality, religion, or disability.

What is illegal eviction

Any action which stops a tenant accessing all or part of the property, without first following the correct legal steps, is an unlawful eviction. Examples of this can include:

  • Changing the locks
  • Forcing you to leave by threatening or harassing you
  • Using physical violence to remove you from the property
  • Stops you from accessing certain parts of the property
  • Forcing you to leave your home because the harassment is so bad (see above).

What can you do?

  • Keep records of all dealings and disputes with your landlord or agent. Tell them to put all communications with you in writing and do the same yourself. Keep copies.
  • Get further advice from Shelter (external link) or Citizen’s Advice (external link).
  • Contact a legal professional to apply for a civil injunction (a court order to tell your landlord to stop his actions) and/or compensation. Depending on your income, you may qualify for legal aid
  • Report the landlord to Wigan Council - see below
  • Report your landlord to the police if they make you feel unsafe in your home, threatens you with violence or is violent

What can we do?

If you have reported the harassment and/or illegal eviction to us using our online form, there are a number of ways we can assist you:

What we can and cannot do
What we CAN doWhat we CANNOT do
Offer general advice and help to the tenant about evictions and harassment Give the tenant personal legal advice or representation
Speak to the landlord on the tenant’s behalf to try and resolve the issue amicably Prosecute a landlord without substantial and sufficient evidence
Liaise, with the tenant’s permission, with external agencies to help resolve the issue Arrest or detain a landlord
If evidence is robust and irrefutable, and it is in the public interest to do so, we may prosecute the landlord. If we prosecute, as the tenant, you will be required to provide substantial evidence and will usually have to give testimony in court.  
If you have been left homeless by an illegal eviction, we may have a statutory duty to temporarily provide housing for you - see homelessness.  

How do I report harassment or an illegal eviction?

To report harassment or an illegal eviction to Wigan Council, or to get some much needed advice about your eviction, you can:

If you are homeless or will be homeless soon due to an unlawful eviction, visit our homelessness section to get support.

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