Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • Manh28
    • By Manh28 16th May 18, 9:23 PM
    • 6Posts
    • 0Thanks
    Manh28
    Need help with potentially Illegal Eviction
    • #1
    • 16th May 18, 9:23 PM
    Need help with potentially Illegal Eviction 16th May 18 at 9:23 PM
    Hi all,
    I’m new here so take it easy. I’m a fateher of two girls aged 8 & 3. My wife and I were renting a privately rented unfinished flat. Initially we’ve had 6 months tenancy agreement and never got renewed however, we’ve lived in the same property for over 18 months before we’ve had to go to India to attend a medical emergency of a family member.

    We departed in the first week of July and had a return date of early September in mind. However, my father in laws medical condition was getting worse hence we failed to return. Our landlord was well aware of this, we’ve also left the keys with him and agreed an emergency access As well as permission to turn on the heater if needed.

    Then we’ve had an email from the landlord in October informing that he will take control of the property and our belongings which he will store for 90 days as best as he can in a garage shed! He also made it clear that we’re now being evicted. He did not issue any legal forms as all these being done over email.
    Naturally, I kept pledging him not to take this action as that flat contains our everything including clothing, furniture, electronics, sensitive documents, jewellery etc etc. Most importantly I tried not to be homeless and it wasn’t possible for me to return and negotiate. I was in rent arrears at that time due to a struggling business venture which he knows. He also knows that I’ve sold the business and waiting for the money to be paid and I will clear all arrears with him. At one email I even asked “ARE YOU NOT BREAKING THE LAW?” He replied saying that what he is doing is perfectly legitimate as we don’t have never renewed the tenancy agreement!

    Anyway, we were evicted in November and our belongings were under his control as he emptied the flat. We’ve been hit harder with another medical emergency in our family in industry a and the sale of my business was delayed and I had no fund to return. And being homeless with two daughters didn’t help my mental state as well. After a long while a friend offered to accommodate us temporarily so we can rent again and be ourselves.

    We’ve returned in late April and now renting again. As per our belongings, we’ve got most of our clothings in rotten state, found 1 out of 2 TV and our double bed without any fittings. All of our valuables including jewellery aren’t to be found. The landlord says he had to dispose most of our stuff!! He even boast himself saying some of the electronic items were donated to a lady who was going through rough time!!!

    I’m a veteran and all of my military records were in the flat. We’ve had personal computer, iPad Xbox one etc which contained our very personal data. None of them are to be accounted for or no evidence of disposal.

    Please help as this is really starting to hurt us as a family. Our current mental state is beyond ones imagination especially, our 8 year old daughter. Luckily, the 3 year old doesn’t have a clue!

    Thanks in advance.
Page 1
    • diggingdude
    • By diggingdude 16th May 18, 9:37 PM
    • 387 Posts
    • 495 Thanks
    diggingdude
    • #2
    • 16th May 18, 9:37 PM
    • #2
    • 16th May 18, 9:37 PM
    so you were away from the property september - october? Did you pay full rent during this period? I think the landlord has a point as you arguably abandoned the property
    House Deposit - Target £20000 April 2019
    Current Savings - £10225 13121.22 £14621.22 £16021 £17296
    • Red-Squirrel
    • By Red-Squirrel 16th May 18, 9:43 PM
    • 3,277 Posts
    • 8,839 Thanks
    Red-Squirrel
    • #3
    • 16th May 18, 9:43 PM
    • #3
    • 16th May 18, 9:43 PM
    Have you reported the theft of your property to the police?
    • Manh28
    • By Manh28 16th May 18, 9:52 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Manh28
    • #4
    • 16th May 18, 9:52 PM
    • #4
    • 16th May 18, 9:52 PM
    No, should I? Is it not a civil matter? We did have all of our life’s belongings in the flat. Most of it are irreplaceable.
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 16th May 18, 9:55 PM
    • 12,932 Posts
    • 18,592 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    • #5
    • 16th May 18, 9:55 PM
    • #5
    • 16th May 18, 9:55 PM
    so you were away from the property september - october? Did you pay full rent during this period? I think the landlord has a point as you arguably abandoned the property
    Originally posted by diggingdude
    Even if the OP hadn't paid the rent that does not give the landlord the legal right to do what he has. He would need a possession order from the court and then for the court to appoint bailiffs first.
    Last edited by Pixie5740; 16-05-2018 at 9:59 PM.
    • Manh28
    • By Manh28 16th May 18, 9:56 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Manh28
    • #6
    • 16th May 18, 9:56 PM
    • #6
    • 16th May 18, 9:56 PM
    so you were away from the property september - october? Did you pay full rent during this period? I think the landlord has a point as you arguably abandoned the property
    Originally posted by diggingdude
    I couldn’t pay the last few month however, he was informed that my business sell was about to be completed which should be enough for me to clear all arrears.
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 16th May 18, 9:58 PM
    • 12,932 Posts
    • 18,592 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    • #7
    • 16th May 18, 9:58 PM
    • #7
    • 16th May 18, 9:58 PM
    No, should I? Is it not a civil matter? We did have all of our life’s belongings in the flat. Most of it are irreplaceable.
    Originally posted by Manh28
    No it is not a civil matter, illegal eviction is a criminal matter. I assume that you were a tenant and not a lodger ie you did not share living space with your landlord.

    The police are not always well versed in housing law so my advice is to contact Shelter first thing tomorrow.

    https://england.shelter.org.uk
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 16th May 18, 10:00 PM
    • 12,932 Posts
    • 18,592 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    • #8
    • 16th May 18, 10:00 PM
    • #8
    • 16th May 18, 10:00 PM
    The question is, were you illegally evicted or did your landlord Dot the i's and cross the t's?
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 16th May 18, 10:03 PM
    • 5,616 Posts
    • 7,898 Thanks
    deannatrois
    • #9
    • 16th May 18, 10:03 PM
    • #9
    • 16th May 18, 10:03 PM
    I think you are correct, you were illegally evicted but there are a few 'depends' there.

    1) Legal Eviction?

    Eviction can only take place 'legally' if the LL has gone to court, obtained a possession order and appointed bailiffs. Were court papers ever issued to you (even sent via email). However he could also send to your last known address (the empty property and they will probably be deemed as served.

    He can legally evict after serving a S21 giving two months notice (as you were not in a fixed term of your previous Tenancy agreement), then after that 2 months, get a possession order and appoint bailiffs.

    If you were 2 months behind on the rent, he could then start eviction proceedings after serving S8 paperwork for rent arrears.

    2) Property
    As you were gone for so long, although he should have stored your items properly, it may be decided in court that you were just gone for too long and the LL had a right to dispose of the goods. You might find he will start proceedings for rent arrears.

    Then there is another issue

    3) If you paid a deposit, it should have been put in a protected scheme. Did this happen (if you paid a deposit). If he didnt', you can take him to court and he will have to pay you 1-3 times the deposit. He should also have served prescribed information.

    But the most important issue is were you evicted legally? Phone Shelter UK (if you live in England) https://england.shelter.org.uk/get_help and see if they will help. If you weren't, you can take the LL to court and he could be in for some serious losses. But you do need to check if the eviction happened legally. I am not a legal expert, so you need proper advice.

    Given what's happened to your property do not lose/destroy or whatever any texts or email conversations you have had with the LL. Go through everything you still have and see if you have any paperwork,including bank records of what you paid etc. Even if you don't have a tenancy agreement left, you can prove the tenancy existed if you paid rent regularly to the LL.
    Last edited by deannatrois; 16-05-2018 at 10:10 PM.
    • HampshireH
    • By HampshireH 16th May 18, 10:03 PM
    • 918 Posts
    • 1,019 Thanks
    HampshireH
    OP - Just out of interest. How do you know that the Landlord didn't pursue a legal eviction, serve notice, apply for a warrant etc.

    If you haven't been to the property between September 2017 and April 2018 how would you know if you had been served? Bailiffs had attended with a warrant?

    Its a genuine question.

    Contact the court and ask for a copy of the paperwork (you will have to pay a fee)

    Edit: Also have you contacted you contents insurer. Presume they knew you were away from the property and continued to insure you.
    Last edited by HampshireH; 16-05-2018 at 10:05 PM.
    • John-K
    • By John-K 16th May 18, 10:03 PM
    • 654 Posts
    • 1,023 Thanks
    John-K
    No it is not a civil matter, illegal eviction is a criminal matter. I assume that you were a tenant and not a lodger ie you did not share living space with your landlord.

    The police are not always well versed in housing law so my advice is to contact Shelter first thing tomorrow.

    https://england.shelter.org.uk
    Originally posted by Pixie5740
    While this may be the legal situation it’d be a rare landlord who’d allow the property to be empty for ten months and in arrears for most of that without taking action.

    You cannot leave for nearly a year, stop paying rent and be surprised if it turns out badly.
    • cjdavies
    • By cjdavies 16th May 18, 10:05 PM
    • 3,537 Posts
    • 3,806 Thanks
    cjdavies
    so you were away from the property september - october? Did you pay full rent during this period? I think the landlord has a point as you arguably abandoned the property
    Originally posted by diggingdude
    Please ignore this advice
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 16th May 18, 10:07 PM
    • 12,932 Posts
    • 18,592 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    While this may be the legal situation it’d be a rare landlord who’d allow the property to be empty for ten months and in arrears for most of that without taking action.

    You cannot leave for nearly a year, stop paying rent and be surprised if it turns out badly.
    Originally posted by John-K
    On the flip side a landlord should not illegally evict a tenant and expect it to turn out well even if that tenant is in arrears and/or is a PITA. It could well be that the landlord jumped through all the necessary hoops but if not....
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 16th May 18, 10:09 PM
    • 6,976 Posts
    • 6,654 Thanks
    00ec25
    I couldn’t pay the last few month however, he was informed that my business sell was about to be completed which should be enough for me to clear all arrears.
    Originally posted by Manh28
    what outcome are you trying to achieve here?

    1. You no longer live there, you now live somewhere else so presumably are not trying to get back there.

    2. You were in rent arrears when you left the UK. What correspondence had you had with the LL whilst in arrears before leaving?

    3. Did the LL expect you to return to the UK or can he justifiably argue you had abandoned not only the property, but also the UK?

    4. Based on what you say here there does appear to have been an illegal eviction, I return to the question what outcome are you looking for? You still owe rent I assume?

    5. Theft of your property is a criminal matter for the police. They won't help you as you have no evidence of who did it.

    6. The LL was 100% responsible for safeguarding your possessions until he had contacted you and agreed what was to happen to them. You should have a strong case under "the law" to sue him for compensation, if that is what you want ? Sadly of course money is no replacement for sentimental items that have now been lost forever.
    The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977
    http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2010/04/27/landlord-rights-over-tenants-possessions/
    • Manh28
    • By Manh28 16th May 18, 10:09 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Manh28
    While this may be the legal situation it’d be a rare landlord who’d allow the property to be empty for ten months and in arrears for most of that without taking action.

    You cannot leave for nearly a year, stop paying rent and be surprised if it turns out badly.
    Originally posted by John-K
    Thanks for you replay, I wasn’t gone for 10 months. I could have come back during Christmas had he not evicted me. What would you know about the pain of a homeless father of two and landing in Heathrow then wonder where to sleep?
    • Manh28
    • By Manh28 16th May 18, 10:13 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Manh28
    OP - Just out of interest. How do you know that the Landlord didn't pursue a legal eviction, serve notice, apply for a warrant etc.

    If you haven't been to the property between September 2017 and April 2018 how would you know if you had been served? Bailiffs had attended with a warrant?

    Its a genuine question.

    Contact the court and ask for a copy of the paperwork (you will have to pay a fee)

    Edit: Also have you contacted you contents insurer. Presume they knew you were away from the property and continued to insure you.
    Originally posted by HampshireH
    My only way of correspondence was via emails. LL is well aware of this and he had the sole access to the property and the mail. What I can gather from our conversation, there was no legal notice or warrant issued.
    • John-K
    • By John-K 16th May 18, 10:14 PM
    • 654 Posts
    • 1,023 Thanks
    John-K
    Thanks for you replay, I wasn’t gone for 10 months. I could have come back during Christmas had he not evicted me. What would you know about the pain of a homeless father of two and landing in Heathrow then wonder where to sleep?
    Originally posted by Manh28
    You are right, I mis-counted, July to April is nine months, not ten.

    That changes everything....

    As others have asked, how do you know that your landlord did not do it all by the book?
    • franklee
    • By franklee 16th May 18, 10:17 PM
    • 3,730 Posts
    • 4,017 Thanks
    franklee
    Not enough information.

    You were away from the first week of July and were evicted in November. Given the rent arrears it could have been two weeks notice under section 8 and then possession order etc. There is time for that to go through especially if undefended.

    As for section 21, maybe enough time depends on how busy the local court is.

    Notices would have been served to the rental address. Did you arrange postal redirection to a friend/relative or for someone to pick up the post?

    Suggest you contact the local county court and see if you can find any records there of a legal eviction.
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 16th May 18, 10:18 PM
    • 5,616 Posts
    • 7,898 Thanks
    deannatrois
    OP, I know you have been in an awful situation, I, and others will advise but I am afraid you need to try and not react emotionally. It won't help. And acknowledge things weren't handled as well as they could have been, however bad your situation.

    Like, for example, telling the LL you are going to sell your business does not help the LL replace the money he is not getting. And your business did not sell when you said because of problems. It might not be your 'fault' but the saying 'no matter how thin, a pancake has two sides' applies here. The LL was left not knowing when you'd return, whether you would ever pay rent for some months.., whatever your good intentions. The LL wasn't enjoying this either. Don't be nieve. What has happened to you is wrong, but the LL has arguments with what happened too.

    There will always be people on public forums that like to make others feel bad. Give them the dignity they deserve and ignore them rather than feed them.
    Last edited by deannatrois; 16-05-2018 at 10:21 PM.
    • HampshireH
    • By HampshireH 16th May 18, 10:19 PM
    • 918 Posts
    • 1,019 Thanks
    HampshireH
    My only way of correspondence was via emails. LL is well aware of this and he had the sole access to the property and the mail. What I can gather from our conversation, there was no legal notice or warrant issued.
    Originally posted by Manh28
    A court isnt going to email you and the landlord wouldnt receive copies of any paperwork you were sent (if dont properly).

    As I suggested. Contact the court and see if they have awarded posession against you.

    If it helps, ask your former LL for the case reference # and a copy of the notice he served. Advise him at the same time that if they are not received for further investigation then you will be calling the police for theft.

    You sound like a bad tenant based on the usual definition , (rent arrears, all leaving the country for many months etc). However, that is no excuse to evict someone illegally. It's a very stupid landlord that would do this.

    You need to do some legwork to find out
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

159Posts Today

1,095Users online

Martin's Twitter