A tenant who is the victim of an eviction other than by means of a Court Order or who is subject to harassment has remedies both in civil and criminal law.
Harassment includes conduct such as verbal abuse or threats, cutting off utilities or other actions designed to oppress the tenant or force him to vacate.
A tenant’s claim for protection from eviction is pursuant to the tenants implied right to enjoy peaceful occupation of the tenanted property and will therefore cover outright eviction or other interference with enjoyment of the property – such as unjustified intrusion by the landlord into part of the premises.
A tenant is entitled to apply to the County Court for:-
- An injunction – Orders may be made restraining the conduct of landlords – and in urgent cases such Orders may be made without prior notice to the landlord.
- Damages – compensation may be assessed by reference to the profit which a landlord may gain by recovering possession of the premises and may in extreme cases involve an element of “punishment” of an errant landlord.
Local Authorities take allegations of harassment seriously and my prosecute.
Landlords should consider:-
- In the event that they are confronted by a difficult tenant take professional advice at an early stage.
- Insuring against defaulting tenants and the cost of pursuing them – or to accept that it will happen and build it in to your business plan.
- Avoid the temptation to engage in “self help”. if a tenant is not complying with their obligations – serve appropriate notices and apply to the court.
Tenants should consider:-
- In the event that you are confronted by an aggressive landlord promptly seek assistance from the local housing department or seek professional legal advice – legal aid may be available.
Lawson Lewis Blakers have expertise in Landlord & Tenant matters and can assist with:-
- Advice in relation to Tenancy Agreements
- Advice & representation in relation to possession proceedings
- Advice & representation in relation to disputes as to injunctions, dilapidations etc.